HomePoliticsUS to accelerate immigration cases from recent border crossings in new program

US to accelerate immigration cases from recent border crossings in new program

By Ted Hesson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration will expedite the immigration lawsuits of some single adults caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border under a new program announced on Thursday, part of a broader effort to curb illegal immigration ahead of November 5 elections, senior government officials said.

Single adults with court dates in five cities — Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City — could be placed on a “recent arrivals list,” senior administration officials said on a call with reporters. U.S. immigration judges will aim to resolve their asylum claims within 180 days instead of a process that can now take years due to large backlogs, officials said.

American president Joe Biden, a Democrat seeking re-election in November, has tightened his approach to border security in recent months as immigration has become one of voters’ top concerns. Biden’s Republican challenger, former President Donald Trump, has criticized Biden’s approach and vowed to reintroduce the tough policies.

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U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas urged Congress in a statement to pass a bipartisan bill in the Senate that would strengthen border enforcement.

“This administrative step is not a substitute for the sweeping and much-needed changes that the bipartisan Senate bill would deliver,” Mayorkas said.

Biden administration officials declined to say how many people could be placed in fast-track cases, but at least 10 judges will initially be assigned to the new program, an official said.

The Biden administration on Wednesday imposed visa restrictions on more than 250 members of the Nicaraguan government and imposed sanctions on three Nicaraguan entities in a move partly linked to migrant smuggling through the Central American country.

The government also plans to finalize a proposed regulation later this year that would allow asylum officials to quickly deny claims from migrants convicted of a serious crime, linked to terrorism or other threats to public safety.

(Reporting by Ted Hesson; Editing by Mica Rosenberg, Leslie Adler and Daniel Wallis)

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