This sponsored column is by James Montana, Esq., Doran Shemin, Esq. and Laura Lorenzo, Esq., practicing attorneys at Steelyard LLC, an immigration-focused law firm located in Arlington, Virginia. The legal information given here is general in nature. If you want legal advice, contact James for an appointment.
The Biden Administration has proposed a major reform to the U.S. asylum system. As always, here at Statutes of Liberty, we’re here to give you both sides of the question.
What’s the problem?
The problem has three parts:
- The U.S. Immigration Courts have a backlog of 1.3 million (million!) cases, approximately half of which are asylum claims. There are approximately 500 immigration judges, so the backlog is 2,600 cases per judge. (You have to do some math to see how truly awful that is. Let’s assume that a case takes eight hours of work to adjudicate. That’s 20,800 hours of work, per judge, to clear the backlog. There are 2,000 work hours per year. So, with the current IJ corps and the current backlog, it will take ten years to get to zero… assuming that no new cases come in the door.)
- Asylum applicants who seek asylum at the U.S. border are automatically referred to the U.S. Immigration Courts after passing a “credible fear interview.” This is a major source of input for new cases coming into the immigration courts.
- The U.S. maintains a parallel asylum adjudication system outside the Immigration Courts at Asylum Offices, which are staffed by asylum officers rather than judges. The backlog at asylum offices is bad — quite bad — but it isn’t close to as bad as at the immigration courts.
What’s the solution?
Faced with this Brobdingnagian backlog, the Biden Administration has proposed a new regulation that will grant additional powers to asylum officers and shift some cases from the Immigration Courts to the Asylum Offices. The cases in question are border asylum claims only. People who enter the United States with a visa, and then request asylum, would see no changes.
Currently, asylum officers only have two choices: Grant asylum or refer the case to an immigration judge for review. Review by the immigration judge is what lawyers call de novo review. In plain English, the immigration judge does the entire case over again, from scratch, without relying on the prior work done by the asylum officer.
Under the new regulation, asylum officers would be empowered to do a fuller review of border cases and have more choices about how to dispose of cases. These super-officers would be able to grant asylum, grant withholding of removal, grant protection under the Convention Against Torture, or refer the cases to the immigration courts for further review. Although the proposed rule says that the immigration courts would review the cases de novo, the proposed rule also says that the courts would rule “based on the record of the hearing before the Asylum Office plus any additional, non-duplicative evidence presented to the court that is necessary to reach a reasoned decision.” Note that asylum officers are, generally, non-lawyers, and so immigration judges would be conducting, in effect, appellate review of quasi-judicial decisions crafted by laymen.
What would the practical effects of this process be?
Much depends on the details. For example, if immigration judges conduct only rubber-stamp review of asylum officers’ decisions, many applicants are likely to be denied asylum under U.S. law without the reasoned judicial review required, in our view, by the Constitution. On the other hand, if the immigration judges conduct full fact-finding in referred cases, it’s difficult to see how the change will ameliorate the backlog problem — it would simply postpone it by shunting border asylum claims into the asylum offices pre-referral to the immigration courts.
As always, we welcome any thoughts or comments and will do our best to respond.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 14436 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
When Hamid Habib Zada and Negin Khwalpak fled Afghanistan with their daughter Maram two years ago in hopes of escaping the Taliban, all they brought to America was a backpack full of diapers.
Interested in Italian wine? Join the Arrowine team this Sunday, June 11 to learn and taste wines from Italy’s most prestigious regions.
When the pandemic hit, Arlington resident Matt White, like many others, could not get a haircut. He noticed his hair grew quickly and, rather than cut it, he decided to…
Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
🌿 𝐄𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐂𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫: 𝐑𝐞𝐣𝐮𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐁𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐥 🌿 Local business is the heart of a strong community, and at Emerald Massage Center, we’re proud to be a vital part of that heartbeat. Our passionate team of Licensed Massage Therapists is dedicated to providing you with a sanctuary of relaxation, rejuvenation, and renewal.
🌟 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐖𝐞 𝐎𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫 🌟
Our wide range of massage services includes Swedish, deep tissue, prenatal, sports massage, hot stone, aromatherapy, and more — all tailored to your individual needs. Whether you’re seeking relief from stress, muscle tension, or chronic pain, our skilled therapists will help you achieve total wellness.
🏆 𝐎𝐮𝐫 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 🏆
Homebuying 102: Contract Closing and Beyond
You’ve found the perfect house and you’re under contract, now what? Navigating the closing process can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
Join ACFCU’s mortgage loan officers on June 21 at 5:30pm for part two in our first-time
Our archery classes start with the Explore Archery program. This is a six week course, with 60 minute classes for new archers ages 8 to 12.
Our indoor archery program is fun, rewarding and developmentally progressive. These classes are focused