WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is expanding the pool of migrants allowed to enter the United States to submit asylum applications, in the latest effort to get rid of the restrictive immigration policies introduced under President Donald J. Trump.
The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday it would begin considering migrants whose cases were terminated under a Trump-era program that authorized border officials to send asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for their cases to clear through the clogged state. American immigration system. The change could affect tens of thousands of people.
President Biden had already terminated the program, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols. His government this month began bringing in migrants enrolled in the program who had pending asylum cases.
In a statement, the department said the latest step was “part of our ongoing efforts to restore safe, orderly and humane processing at the southwestern border.”
While many immigration and human rights advocates applaud the development, it will do little to ease pressure on the Biden administration to stop rejecting hundreds of thousands of other migrants, many also seeking asylum, who seek entry into the United States. are denied. States due to a public health rule introduced during the coronavirus pandemic.
Democrats and human rights defenders have long attacked the Trump program, which began in 2019 as an effort to discourage immigrants from crossing the southwestern border despite having a legal right to seek asylum in the United States. Many of the asylum seekers who took part in the program were cut off because they were unable to appear at their court hearings in the United States while facing dangerous situations in Mexico.
“By keeping migrants in dangerous conditions in Mexico, the Trump administration has prevented many people from appearing at their hearings and had their claims dismissed,” said Mississippi representatives Bennie Thompson and Nanette Barragán of California, both Democrats, in a statement. joint statement on Tuesday. Mr. Thompson is the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee and Ms. Barragán is the chair of the Border Security Subcommittee. “Making these people eligible for processing is the right choice.”
Representative Michael Guest, a Republican from Mississippi and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the decision was made in haste and without transparency.
“The department’s apparently impulsive announcement lacked any explanation, justification or other indication that the decision was made after careful consideration and deliberation both appropriate and required by law,” Mr Guest wrote in a letter to Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the Secretary of State. of homeland security.
The development could affect more than 34,000 migrants seeking asylum in the United States, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which collects immigration data.
Judy Rabinovitz, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the trial was not going to be any time soon. Applicants would have to register and someone would have to tell them what to submit in order to reopen their business. And there’s no guarantee an immigration judge would grant a reopening motion, she said, let alone grant asylum.
In another major split with the Trump administration, the Justice Department last week reversed a Trump-era immigration ruling that had made it virtually impossible for people to seek asylum in the United States over credible fears of domestic violence. or gang violence. The decision could affect hundreds of thousands of Central Americans fleeing extortion and gang recruitment, as well as women fleeing domestic violence who have arrived in the United States since 2013.