July 21, 2024

DHS Announces Proposed Rule and Other Measures to Enhance Security, Streamline Asylum Processing

DHS Announces Proposed Rule and Other Measures to Enhance Security, Streamline Asylum Processing

DHS Announces Proposed Rule and Other Measures to Enhance Security, Streamline Asylum Processing

Release Date: May 9, 2024

WASHINGTON – As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued efforts to enhance the security of our border and deliver more timely consequences for those encountered who do not have a legal basis to remain in the United States, today the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would allow statutory bars to asylum to be applied much earlier in the process. Even though the number of migrants who are subject to these bars is small, this rule would enable DHS to more quickly remove those who are subject to the bars and pose a risk to our national security or public safety.

Federal law bars individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk from asylum and withholding of removal, specifically those who have been convicted of a particularly serious crime, participated in the persecution of others, are inadmissible on national security or terrorism-related grounds, or for whom there are reasonable grounds to deem them a danger to the security of the United States. While anyone who is deemed to pose a public safety threat is taken into custody, the asylum eligibility determination is not currently made until later in the process – at the merits adjudication stage of the asylum and withholding of removal claims. Today’s proposed rule would permit Asylum Officers to consider these bars to asylum and withholding of removal during initial credible fear screening, which happens just days after an individual is encountered. This will allow DHS to expeditiously remove individuals who pose a threat to the United States much sooner than is currently the case, better safeguarding the security of our border and our country.

“The proposed rule we have published today is yet another step in our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of the American public by more quickly identifying and removing those individuals who present a security risk and have no legal basis to remain here,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. “We will continue to take action, but fundamentally it is only Congress that can fix what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system.”

Noncitizens who present a national security or public safety risk remain in DHS custody while their cases are referred for full immigration hearings before an immigration judge, a process that can take years and is resource intensive. The proposed rule would allow Asylum Officers to issue denial of claims within days after an individual is encountered when there is evidence that the individual is barred from asylum because of a terrorism, national security, or criminal bar, thereby significantly shortening the overall time between encounter and removal from the United States.

In addition to this proposed rule and in close coordination with vetting and law enforcement partners, DHS is updating its policy and procedures regarding the use of classified information in immigration proceedings. This updated guidance clarifies the circumstances in which classified information should be used in immigration proceedings. Consistent with longstanding practice, DHS will continue to screen and vet individuals prior to their entry to the United States to identify national security or public safety threats and take appropriate action.

The Department also continues enforcing the Circumvention of Lawful Pathways (CLP) rule. This rule incentivizes the use of orderly processes and imposes swifter consequences for those without a legal basis to remain in the United States. Today, USCIS issued revised guidance to Asylum Officers to consider whether an asylum seeker could reasonably relocate to another part of the country of feared persecution when assessing claims of future persecution in all credible fear cases. Internal relocation has always been a part of an analysis of future claims of harm, and this new guidance, consistent with the CLP rule, will ensure early identification and removal of individuals who would ultimately be found ineligible for protection because of their ability to remain safe by relocating elsewhere in the country from which they fled.

The Biden-Harris Administration has already taken numerous actions to address migration challenges in the region and at our border, while overseeing a historic expansion of lawful pathways. These efforts, with partner countries in the region and across the world, have made a significant impact. From May 12, 2023 through May 1, 2024, DHS has removed or returned more than 720,000 individuals, the vast majority of whom crossed the Southwest Border, including more than 109,000 individual family members. That includes removals to 170 countries around the world. Total removals and returns since mid-May 2023 exceed removals and returns in every full fiscal year since 2011. DHS has also significantly expanded the capacity to conduct the credible fear interviews needed to ultimately remove those without a legal basis to stay in the United States.

The Administration again calls on Congress to pass needed reforms and provide DHS the resources and tools it needs to fully implement expedited processing of all individuals encountered at the border. The public is invited to submit comments on the NPRM during the 30-day public comment period from May 13, 2024 to June 12, 2024.

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Last Updated: 05/10/2024
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Originally published at https://www.dhs.gov/news/2024/05/09/dhs-announces-proposed-rule-and-other-measures-enhance-security-streamline-asylum