Biden Administration Proposes Tightening Asylum Policies at the Border

My fellow brave ones! Once again, we are back with the weekly summary of what I believe is the most relevant topic on immigration matters for our community. 

Let us start, and do not miss out on this crucial information! 


Biden Administration Announces New Asylum Rules Affecting Migrants 

The U.S. government is set to introduce new asylum policies that may make the process more stringent for migrants, particularly those with criminal records. The proposal would allow officers at entry ports to make initial decisions on asylum eligibility, marking a significant shift from the current system where judges typically make such decisions. 

However, migrant rights advocates have raised concerns, arguing that credible fear interviews are crucial for protecting migrants from unfair deportations. They fear that the new rules may not guarantee access to adequate legal assistance. 

In response to these concerns, while the new regulations are considered, the Biden administration is evaluating the implementation of additional executive measures depending on the evolving situation at the border, which has decreased crossings since December.

Meanwhile, lawmakers and activists are pushing the White House to provide more relief and protections for migrants already residing in the United States without status. This effort would include expanding Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and deportation waivers for relatives of U.S. citizens. 

Related article: Significant Progress in U.S. Immigration Policy: Legal Support for Mixed-Status Couples 


Restructuring ICE and Strategic Shift in U.S. Immigration Policy 

A significant restructuring within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently been announced. In a notable policy shift, the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has been separated from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. This move, described by many as an effort to dissociate HSI from stringent immigration law enforcement, reflects a turn in the Biden administration’s agenda towards a more moderate and less punitive approach to immigration. 

Since its establishment in 2010, HSI has played a critical role in border security and combating transnational crimes such as human trafficking, in addition to overseeing significant programs for international students. However, its association with ICE and the latter’s image strongly linked to anti-immigrant policies necessitated this separation, allowing HSI to operate without the negative connotations associated with ICE. 

This change occurs in a context where the “Abolish ICE” movement has gained momentum, leading to the establishment of sanctuary policies in various localities that refuse cooperation with immigration authorities. 

This reorganization is viewed as a necessary adaptation to current social and political changes, aiming to redefine the enforcement of immigration laws in the country. Separating HSI from ICE may facilitate cooperation with local authorities and reduce immigrants’ fear of interacting with state police. However, it is also perceived as a potential weakening in the enforcement of immigration laws, which could impact the perception of security in some regions. 

Continue reading: New USCIS policy extends work permits: 800,000 immigrants relieved. 


What Does the Data Say About the Biden Administration’s Immigration Priorities? 

The Biden Administration has initiated policies to expedite the issuance of work permits for undocumented migrants. This move is stirring controversy, according to the latest data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). By the end of the third quarter of fiscal year 2023, there were over 1.022 million pending asylum applications, along with 777,223 applications awaiting employment authorization. 

A recent analysis of these figures highlights a significant reduction in wait times for work permits based on Parole, where the average processing time is now approximately 27 days. 

However, this efficiency starkly contrasts the situation for U.S. citizens applying for visas for their migrant spouses, who face a prolonged waiting time, averaging 11.1 months at the beginning of fiscal year 2024. This time has increased since the fiscal year 2019, when the average was 8.6 months for the same process. 


These policies focus on managing work permits while addressing processes for family reunification and other immigration categories. Nevertheless, the disparities in processing times have sparked criticism from Biden’s opponents, who accuse the administration of prioritizing unauthorized migrants over U.S. citizens seeking to reunite with their spouses. 

Related article: U.S. Government Rolls Out a Key Policy to Protect Migrant Minors 




This was the most relevant immigration news this week. See you next Friday. 

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