US plans faster rejections for some asylum seekers. But is it a big deal?

The US Department of Homeland Security under President Joe Biden announced a new asylum policy, targeting quicker rejections for asylum seekers caught illegally crossing the US-Mexico border if they have a criminal background or are a risk to national security. Biden, known for his compassionate approach towards illegal immigrants, has tightened his stance amid rising voter concerns about immigration.

This is a limited move by the Biden administration to cut down on the illegal immigrants crossing the US border, reported Reuters.

Immigration has emerged as a central issue in the 2024 presidential campaign, which is widely expected to be a Biden-Trump rematch, and each man is seeking to use the border problems to his own political advantage.


Biden has not worked to deter illegal immigrants. Donald Trump, who is against illegal crossings, has said that Biden came to the US-Mexico border just to see the largest number of migrants crossing.

In 2023, the Biden administration is said to have facilitated overnight flights for the entry of 320,000 migrants, in a bid to reduce the number of crossings at the border.

Billionaire businessman Elon Musk shared a Daily Mail report on the transfer of thousands of migrants and termed it “importing voters and creating a national security threat”. He warned that the groundwork was being done “far worse than the 9/11 attacks”.

Musk was referring to the September 2001 terror attack by al-Qaida, in which nearly 3,000 people were killed.

Under Biden’s expansion, migrants could apply for asylum using the app from their home countries.


However, under the proposed regulation, asylum officers would have the authority to deny claims from migrants with serious criminal convictions, ties to terrorism, or posing other public safety risks. This process, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), could happen within days instead of the lengthy years it currently takes.

The measure is expected to affect a limited number of asylum seekers, potentially applying to thousands annually, a fraction of the one million caught crossing illegally from October 2023 to March 2024, according to Reuters.

“We don’t think that the rule will apply to large numbers of people, but it will apply to the people that we are most concerned about,” said a DHS official.


President Joe Biden, known for his more compassionate approach to border security compared to his predecessor Donald Trump, has recently tightened his stance amid rising voter concerns about immigration.

While Trump, Biden’s Republican challenger in the upcoming presidential election to be held in November, has criticised the administration for reversing some strict border policies, Biden has not yet taken executive action to block asylum seekers at the border, although the option has been under consideration.

The proposed regulation to expedite denials of asylum seekers considered criminal or security threats will be released for public comment on Monday, with plans for finalisation this year, stated a DHS official.

Additionally, US asylum officers will now assess during initial screenings whether asylum seekers could have sought safety in other parts of their home country instead of journeying to the US.

Published By:

Girish Kumar Anshul

Published On:

May 10, 2024

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