Joe Biden
President Joe Biden AFP

The Biden administration is mulling more changes to the country's asylum system to speed up the processing and potential removal of migrants arriving at the southern border, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

Concretely, the change would allow for certain migrants to be processed through the asylum system rather than be sent to the back of the line, the outlet said, citing four people familiar with the issue.

The announcement is set to be made by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice and could take place as soon as Thursday.

The potential decision comes just a week after another change allowing authorities to bar migrants from getting asylum within days, or even hours, rather than the years it can take at the moment. The rule could target people considered national security risks.

A study by The University of Syracuse based on federal data revealed this week that there were approximately 1.3 million asylum cases from this fiscal year (which started in October) still waiting for an immigration judge's decision by the end of April 2024. As a result, the Immigration Court backlog has increased to a total of 3,596,317 cases.

Other rules under consideration are a sweeping presidential authority that allows him to "suspend the entry" of foreigners when it is determined that their arrival is not in the best interest of the country; and the ability to turn asylum seekers away if they cross illegally. Making it harder for asylum-seekers to pass the first interview to determine whether they can stay in the country is also under review.

The administration is seeking to change public perception regarding its approach to immigration as numerous polls have shown more support for Donald Trump's approach. The latest example comes from a study conducted by Decision Desk HQ and News Nation, which showed that 46% of respondents chose the Republican compared to 26% who backed the Democrat. Another 13% said they weren't sure about their answer.

Asides from domestic measures, the government has sought for enforcement by its Mexican counterpart, something that has seemingly had an effect. At the request of the U.S., the country is using military patrols and highway checkpoints, intercepting roughly 8,000 U.S.-bound migrants per day, according to officials from both countries.

NBC News reported that Mexico is in fact stopping nearly three times as many migrants as it was a year ago, a trend U.S. officials said helped stem the flow of people reaching its southern border. In March, Mexico intercepted over 280,000 migrants, more than the U.S.'s 189,000. Not long ago the U.S. would intercept more people than Mexico.

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