The Biden administration announced the final version of its rewrite of the process for immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S., reports the New York Times. Officials say the goal is to reduce the asylum process from five years to six months and alleviate severely backlogged immigration courts. Cases will be heard by asylum officers instead of immigration judges under the new rule. For the plan to work at full capacity, the government will need to hire hundreds of asylum officers to handle the record demand.
"It very well could be one of the most significant reforms to the asylum system in a long time, going beyond undoing the Trump administration’s attempts to limit access to asylum, and actually institute meaningful structural reforms,” said Austin Kocher, a geographer at Syracuse University who analyzes immigration enforcement data. The new policy comes at a time of record immigration numbers, with nearly 13,000 undocumented migrants a day. It faces a backlog that predates the previous administration, with over 670,000 pending cases. Critics say that the new plan will draw more migrants to the border, possibly more than 13,000 a day.