Despite Complaints From Cities, Biden Administration To Increase Number of Asylum-Seekers Allowed Into America

The idea is that expanded legal pathways coupled with more aggressive penalties for those caught crossing illegally will plug holes in the leaky dike that is America’s border with Mexico.

AP/Andres Leighton, file
Migrants wait in line adjacent to the border fence under the watch of the Texas National Guard to enter into El Paso, Texas. AP/Andres Leighton, file

The Department of Homeland Security will this month dramatically increase the already elevated number of immigrants allowed to apply for asylum before reaching the border, and will permit as many as 40,000 of them a month to enter the country to await decisions in their cases.

The asylum-seekers will be allowed to apply via Customs and Border Protection’s news CBP One mobile phone app, which the Biden administration rolled out in January. About 20,000 a month were able to schedule appointments at the border for initial screenings via the app when the program first launched.

Use of the app has allowed immigration authorities to ramp up asylum processing at the southern border to levels never before seen in American history. As many as 120,000 people have entered the country via the CBP app since it was launched, and increasing the number of appointments available is likely to send that number higher still.


The Border Patrol has never conducted interviews of potential asylum-seekers at the border at the scale it is currently doing so. The previous record, of an average of 283 a day during fiscal 2019, has been shattered by the current pace of about 1,000 such appointments a day. Under the new plan, officials want to conduct at least 1,250 interviews daily. 

The 40,000 a month figure is on top of the 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela that the administration is allowing into the country. Citizens from those countries are allowed to apply for asylum at home and fly directly to America if they have sponsors. As many as 1.5 million people from those countries have applied for asylum.

The move comes despite criticism from several large cities, many of them run by Democratic mayors, that their resources are being stretched to the limit by the number of asylum seekers pouring into the country. The Chicago city council, which has described the influx as a “humanitarian crisis,” this week approved some $50 million in aid for asylum-seekers in that city, much to the dismay of many locals.


The increase in allowed border applications “is a continuation of the Biden administration’s expansion of lawful pathways and opportunities to access them, including CBP One appointments,” a spokeswoman for Homeland Security told CBS News, which first reported the change in policy. “The process cuts out smugglers while also providing a safe, orderly, and humane process for noncitizens to access ports of entry instead of attempting to enter the United States unlawfully.”

The expansion of the program is part of the Biden administration’s broader attempts to slow the pace of illegal border crossings, which have reached record levels since Mr. Biden took office. The idea is that expanded legal pathways coupled with more aggressive penalties for those caught crossing illegally will plug holes in the leaky dike that is America’s border with Mexico.

“We have seen — as I think everybody knows — a significant decrease in encounters at the border, more than 70 percent reduction since the lifting of Title 42 on May 11,” the assistant secretary for border and immigration policy, Blas Nuñez-Neto, said at a news conference Thursday at Brownsville, Texas. “Today here at the point of entry we saw how some of the lawful pathways we have set up, including the CBP One appointment process, is working.”


Prior to the end of Title 42, which allowed immigration authorities to immediately deport illegal immigrants on public health grounds because of the Covid pandemic, an average of about 7,000 migrants a day were being apprehended at points along the U.S.-Mexico border. Thousands more entered the country without detection. In the weeks since the end of Title 42, the number of these so-called encounters at the border has averaged just more than 3,000 a day.

The administration’s plan has already prompted lawsuits from the state of Texas as well as the attorneys general of more than a dozen other Republican-led states, both of which argue that the Biden administration — in an effort to minimize a public relations disaster at the border and in major cities coping with the influx of asylum-seekers — is merely substituting legal migration for illegal migration.

“In a truly Orwellian twist, the federal government has depicted this latest measure as a tool for reducing illegal immigration,” a complaint filed Wednesday by the attorney general of Indiana, Todd Rokita, says. “The Biden Administration’s unlawful parole policies will increase the number of unlawful aliens in the United States by guaranteeing a quicker path to quasi-legal status in the United States (with accompanying work permits and access to entitlement programs and social services).”

The New York Sun

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