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AG Paxton Asks Court to Halt Implementation of New Asylum Process

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton | Image by Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking a federal court to halt new rules the Biden administration is putting in place regarding the processing of asylum seekers at the United States-Mexico border.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the new rules in late March that are set to take effect on May 31. The new procedures will allow immigration officers at the border to conduct “credible fear screenings” of asylum seekers “who assert a fear of persecution or torture” if returned to their home country.

The immigration officers will have the discretion to decide whether the asylum seeker passes the screening. If the asylum seeker passes the screening, they will be allowed in the U.S. while their claim is assessed. If the asylum seeker fails the screening, they will be expelled without any further hearing or review.

The new procedure aims to expedite the process and have all asylum claims decided within 90 days. Currently, the system faces massive backlogs as only immigration judges from the Department of Justice can determine whether or not asylum claims should be approved. Using that system, it takes years to decide each asylum claim.

“The current system for handling asylum claims at our borders has long needed repair,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “Through this rule, we are building a more functional and sensible asylum system to ensure that individuals who are eligible will receive protection more swiftly, while those who are not eligible will be rapidly removed.”

Paxton claims the new procedures would exacerbate loopholes in removing unlawful migrants while prioritizing efficiency over national security. He also claims it will have costly impacts on Texas.

“The Biden Administration has made it clear that they do not want to abide by the Constitution or the rules and regulations set by Congress, especially regarding the Texas border,” Paxton said. “Federal law requires genuine asylum and parole claims to be carefully managed and scrutinized by an immigration judge, not a bureaucrat rubber-stamping patently false claims.”

“Not only that, but this entire Rule is just a way for this Administration to accomplish their real goal: a mass influx of illegal aliens into the United States,” Paxton added. “I’m asking the court to put a stop to the Rule before it goes into effect.”

Paxton filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas with DHS Secretary Mayorkas as the lone defendant.     

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