Long Waits for Asylum Seekers
Did you know most asylum seekers wait about two years to find out if their case is approved or denied? While asylum seekers have extremely high rates of showing up for their court proceedings, two years is also a long time to live in limbo.
There’s currently a backlog of over 1.2 million asylum cases.
A new rule was recently released that will allow asylum officers to engage in the decision-making process in an effort to speed up the process. “Under the new rule, if an asylum officer grants protections to an immigrant, the immigrant can remain in the U.S. and bypass immigration courts,” reports NBC news.
Overall, this addition seems to be a positive step to make the process quicker and more humane for those walking through it. Of course, we’ll continue to watch and learn more as these changes unfold. Today we celebrate the hopeful progress for those arriving at the border seeking safety and protection through our asylum process.
The reasons for long waits at the border and in immigration courts are complex. Waits were already long before the pandemic. MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols), often known as Wait in Mexico was enacted in January 2019 and allowed the U.S. to return asylum seekers to Mexico while they awaited their court proceedings. Then, there is Title 42.
What is Happening with Title 42?
In early April, the CDC announced it will end Title 42, a controversial public health order at the U.S.-Mexico border, on May 23. In place since March 2020, Title 42 has allowed officials to turn away migrants – including legal asylum seekers – due to the pandemic.
This ending will coincide with the implementation of a new rule change at the border that will allow asylum officers to adjudicate some asylum cases. This rule sets up an opportunity for better border management and a more humane process for vulnerable people approaching our border.
Title 42 created extremely dangerous circumstances for migrants, fostered increased exploitation by cartels, and caused confusion for many along the border.
You may have heard that the ending of Title 42 will spur increased migration to our southern border. That’s possible. The Department of Homeland Security released a fact sheet on its preparations for potential increases in migration, including this new asylum rule.
We know narratives of chaos and “open borders” will take hold in the midst of change. At Women of Welcome, we believe we can have safe and secure borders while also treating immigrants and refugees with compassion. These concepts are not mutually exclusive.We need lawmakers from both parties to show leadership, come together, and find meaningful solutions. Congressional leaders should meet their responsibility to address border security and management — and also address the broken immigration system that drives this situation.
We will continue to talk with our partners and pay attention to what happens as these changes happen along the border. Thank you for being here to learn with us!