The incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden warned on Tuesday that any transformative change in the immigration system will not happen overnight, trying to dampen expectations that a White House Democrat will quickly unravel years of politics. hard and chaotic of the Trump administration.
However, transition officials discussed plans to change procedures for asylum seekers on the southern border. The incoming administration said it wants to identify the most vulnerable immigrants and process their claims first, rather than sorting them in order of arrival.
The change is part of Biden’s team’s plan to completely rethink asylum processing, officials in charge of the transition said in a call to reporters.
“The goal is to change the way we receive people at the border, to make the process more efficient, to be fairer, to be more humane,” a Biden transition official said. “This means that asylum officers can judge claims so that asylum seekers are not tied up in court proceedings for years.”
The Trump administration’s severe restrictions on immigrants – and all the politics, staffing and logistical changes that this entails – mean the system will have to be put back in place, a Biden transition official said .
“It’s a huge challenge, because the current administration broke a lot of things,” a transitional official said.
The Trump administration issued an order citing the pandemic, which effectively prevents most immigrants from accessing the U.S. immigration system. Prior to the pandemic, border guards would regulate how many immigrants could enter the United States on official steps to seek asylum, a process known as queue management or “measurement.”
A Biden transition official said the administration intends to end the measure, which began under the Obama administration because it artificially limits capacity, reduces access to the nation’s immigration system, and deters immigrants from seeking protection in the US. In October, the Office of Inspector General of a Department of Homeland Security report found that U.S. authorities who rejected asylum seekers at official border crossings told immigrants they had no room to prosecute them, regardless of whether they really could.
His plan is different from the measurement because the intention is to increase processing at the border and give priority to those who need more protection, a Biden transition official said. The most vulnerable immigrants would be identified with the help of NGOs on the ground.
“Right now people are sleeping outside the ports of entry to keep a place online and that’s when we have a public health crisis. A terrible situation,” a Biden transition official said. “The plan is to partner with organizations in Mexico. To make sure we collaborate and effectively process people who expect to present at ports.”
The conversation with reporters came a day after Susan Rice, Biden’s election to head the Home Affairs Council, and Jake Sullivan, his national security adviser, told the news agency in Spanish EFE which would take months to completely restore asylum processing at the border.
“Processing capacity at the border is not like a light that can only be turned on and off,” Rice told EFE. “Migrants and asylum seekers should absolutely not believe those in the region who convey the idea that the border will suddenly be fully open to prosecute everyone on the first day. It will not.”
Rice said the Biden administration would address the root causes of migration, working with civil society, the private sector, governments and international partners. The administration said it hopes to implement a $ 4 billion four-year plan to fight corruption, improve security and promote prosperity in fleeing areas.
“We know that most people will not choose to leave their country and risk their own lives and those of their families, unless the conditions at home are potentially more dangerous than migration,” Rice told EFE.
Another plan is to expand legal avenues for migration that allow people to apply for resettlement of refugees, temporary workers, and other employment-based programs from the Western Hemisphere, including Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. .
Sullivan said the Biden administration would not immediately end Trump’s migrant protection protocols (MPPs), which force immigrants to wait in Mexico while their U.S. immigration cases are completed. The plan is to finish it soon in the Biden administration.
“MPP has been a disaster from the beginning and has led to a humanitarian crisis in northern Mexico. But implementing the new policy will take time,” Sullivan said. “The current administration dismantled much of the capacity needed to ensure the safe and orderly processing of migrants. We need time to increase processing capacity and do so in accordance with public health requirements.”