U.S. To Explore Speedier Asylum Screenings for Illegal Immigrants

The Department of Homeland Security said on Saturday that the Biden administration will start testing faster asylum checks for people caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border next week. This is part of the preparations for the end of COVID-19 border restrictions in May.

Marsha Espinosa, a spokesperson for Homeland Security, said that a small number of migrants who are still in the custody of border authorities will get their first screenings for asylum in the next few days. She said that the interviews will be done over the phone and that migrants will be able to talk to a lawyer during the screenings.

New Border Restrictions are in Place

In recent months, U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has put in place new border restrictions because a record number of illegal immigrants are being caught crossing. Former Republican President Donald Trump also used rapid asylum screenings to speed up the process of resolving cases. However, these screenings were done by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, and legal representation was not guaranteed.

The tweet below confirms the news:

Since March 2020, a COVID-19 order called Title 42 has made it easy for U.S. authorities to quickly send illegal border crossers back to Mexico. The order and the wider pandemic public health emergency will end on May 11, and the Biden administration is getting ready for a possible rise in crossings after that.

Espinosa said that if the administration decides to use the faster screenings more widely in the future, “best practices” will be learned from the experiment. The spokesperson wouldn’t say where on the border it would be put into place the following week.

Reuters said for the first time in December that Biden officials were thinking about whether or not to use accelerated asylum screenings and other restrictions like Trump’s.

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