The Biden team unveils a new asylum system to start dealing with migrant backlog: NPR

A Salvadoran girl sits inside a camp for asylum seekers on February 7 in Matamoros, Mexico, where nearly 600 people who have left Central America await hearings at immigration court.

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A Salvadoran girl sits inside a camp for asylum seekers on February 7 in Matamoros, Mexico, where nearly 600 people who have left Central America await hearings at immigration court.

John Moore / Getty Images

The Biden administration said it will start phases a new asylum process next week on February 19 to deal with the backlog of migrants seeking asylum on the southern border of the United States, many of whom have been waiting in Filthy camps In a state of limbo as to trial dates because of the immigrant protection protocols program.

Under pressure to fulfill campaign promises about immigration and to face the possibility that a new wave of migrants seeking to escape desperate situations could flood the border, Biden’s team said it plans to start admitting a massive number of asylum seekers – about 300 people per person. Today – out of an estimated 25,000 people have “active cases” in the now-ending MPP.

Former President Donald Trump called the program “Stay in Mexico” because he forced immigrants from Central American countries to wait for asylum hearings outside the United States. Ending the program was one of Biden’s first actions when he took office, as part of a sweeping rollback from Trump’s measures to curb immigration. Biden promised a more “humane” immigration system.

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Senior officials who briefed reporters on a conference call on the condition of anonymity said that they began working on the new asylum process during the transition period, working with international organizations to aid migrants, and the Mexican government. But they admit it came together very quickly. Not many details have been released, in part for fear of flooding ports of entry and international organizations with a flood of inquiries from desperate asylum seekers.

“We need to start the asylum procedure and allow … access to the asylum procedure in the United States for people who have been for a long time in Mexico and are unable to pursue their cases,” a senior Biden administration official said of the decision.

“We all want to make sure we send a message that we start this within 30 days of inauguration to show our commitment to the legal paths of immigration, but it does not change the situation at the border,” the official said.

“We don’t want people to act on limited information and maybe push to different parts of the border. That wouldn’t be safe in the current environment,” said a second official. They stressed that people should not take any action until they know if they are eligible, and even after that they should wait for instructions and not travel to the border.

Migrants who believe they are eligible will first register with NGOs, which will identify the most vulnerable and long-forgotten people. The Department of Homeland Security is building “electronic portals” for immigrants to be able to register and verify their status.

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Immigrants will discover the details of the new regime through social networks. “We will be working a massive amount of media. We will work with our international organization partners who have excellent social media networks that reach out to immigrant communities to make sure people understand who will be eligible for this program and who will not,” said one official.

After initial screening by NGOs – which has not yet been disclosed – the migrants will be given an appointment to pass through the port of entry. They will be tested first for the Coronavirus and will be equipped with masks.

The officials said that asylum seekers would be registered in “alternative detention programs” after they crossed the border to a final destination within the country where their asylum applications would eventually be considered. No court proceedings will be conducted at the border.

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