Fox News broke the story first. A group of Republican states sued the Biden administration on Thursday over a contentious rule that would expedite asylum applications at the southern border, the latest in a series of legal challenges to the government’s immigration policy by Republican states. The lawsuit, filed by 14 states led by Arizona, Missouri, and Louisiana, seeks to overturn a regulation that would let USCIS workers consider asylum applications for migrants put in expedited removal rather than immigration courts. The rule will be implemented in May.
The states claim that the rule “eviscerates critical safeguards to our nation’s immigration system and flouts clear statutory commands enacted by Congress,” and that it “makes it substantially easier for unauthorized economic migrants to enter the United States and obtain asylum through false claims.”
Migrants who say they have a legitimate fear of being deported to their home country would be interviewed by a USCIS official, who would decide whether they should be granted asylum or directed to a court for removal procedures, which DHS claimed would be simplified. They would be paroled into the United States for that procedure, which is only permitted for “urgent humanitarian grounds or considerable public benefit.”
The Biden administration believes it may reduce asylum proceedings from nearly five years to only months, allowing migrants to be removed promptly if their claims are determined to be false. However, opponents have cautioned that it would encourage more people to cross the border and that it will lead to a more lenient system that allows for the approval of fake asylum applications.
Mayorkas remarked in March that “the present system for resolving refugee requests at our borders has long required reform.” “Through this regulation, we are constructing a more functioning and reasonable asylum system, ensuring that those who are entitled for protection receive it more quickly, while those who are not are quickly removed.”
We will process asylum and other humanitarian protection petitions as quickly as possible while maintaining due process.” The lawsuit raises concerns that the rule would give DHS, of which USCIS is a part, control over the ability to adjudicate asylum claims, implying that it would be more lenient in granting asylum to migrants than more immigration judges, who approve only 15% of asylum claims that pass DHS’s initial credible fear reviews.
According to the complaint, the “completely foreseeable effect” will be a “significant rise in the acceptance rate of non-meritorious asylum petitions,” which it describes as “a feature, not a defect in the scheme.” “In fact, these same Defendants have taken various measures in the previous fifteen months that have led in both increased illegal entries into the United States and the loss of operational control over the southern border,” they claim.
“That pattern continues with the Asylum PFR.” The complaint contends that the rule violates the Administrative Procedures Act’s notice-and-comment obligations. While the administration did provide an initial opportunity for notice and comment, the final regulation made several modifications to the wording.
“The end outcome is an interim-final regulation that is significantly different from what was offered to the public and on which the public provided feedback,” they say. The amendments, according to the administration’s attorneys, were logical extensions of the original rule. The lawsuit also claims that the regulation is “arbitrary and capricious,” which violates the APA.
The states believe that it does so by failing to examine alternatives and the costs to the states. It also says it won’t contemplate eliminating the Title 42 public health directive at the same time, because the two will “create a tremendous rise in illegal border crossings and asylum applications” if done together.
Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and South Carolina are among the plaintiffs in the complaint. Texas filed a second complaint the next day.
The regulation is “nothing more than a brazen attempt to set up a system that favors illegal immigration and undermines the rule of law,” according to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. In a statement, he stated, “President Biden may not care about the American people, but I do.” “I shall continue to oppose his illegal practices and imperial decrees.”
The litigation appears after a lawsuit was filed by 21 states challenging the Biden administration’s decision to end Title 42 on May 23. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public health order has been used to expel the majority of migrants since March 2020, and its impending expiration has sparked fears that it will spark an even larger migration surge.
Between now and a hearing on May 13 on whether to prohibit the administration from removing the order entirely, those states, led by Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri, have obtained a preliminary injunction on any attempt by the Biden administration to move away from Title 42 expulsions.