The Biden administration’s change of a Trump-era policy has reportedly made it easier for thousands of migrants to gain asylum over credible fears of persecution “due to family ties” and violence by private actors, including gang members and domestic partners.
None of those cases qualify for asylum under U.S. law, which requires that applicants face persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
The asylum seeker must also prove that their home government is complicit in their persecution or unwilling or incapable to stop it.
Early this week, the Los Angeles Times reported:
In June, the Department of Justice [DOJ] reversed rulings by Trump administration attorneys general that had made the asylum process more difficult for those fleeing violence by private actors, including domestic partners, gangs and those persecuted “due to family ties.”
The change has dramatically improved the chances for … tens of thousands like her with applicable cases in the system — including in appeals — to gain asylum.
Biden officials are releasing asylum applicants into U.S. communities with work permits to wait for a hearing, which can take years given the already overburdened immigration court system plagued by backlogs.
The migrant surge that has reached highs in recent months not seen in more than two decades will likely exacerbate the asylum case backlogs.
Biden administration officials now offer Central American asylum applicants, many of whom are rejected, to fly their families to live with them in the United States, adding to the caseload.
The administration has also offered to bring back migrants who were removed “in absentia” for missing their asylum court hearing while enrolled in Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program ended by President Joe Biden.
Credible fears of gang violence, domestic abuse, and poverty do not make migrants eligible to claim asylum under U.S. law.
Nevertheless, the Los Angles Times acknowledged:
The legal argument over who should qualify for asylum hinges on the interpretation of which seekers belong to a “particular social group.” Past administrations had agreed that persons fleeing domestic abuse or gang violence could be regarded as being persecuted on the account of being in a “particular social group.”
The vast majority of migrants seeking to enter the U.S. border at or between official ports of entry are fleeing poverty and violence. None of those reasons make them eligible to claim asylum or refugee status.
The difference between the two forms of protection is that asylum seekers apply for protection from inside the U.S. while refugees do not.
President Biden is reportedly considering ending the Trump-era pandemic control protocol known as Title 42 by mid-July.
Title 42, already watered down by the Biden administration, allows border authorities to expeditiously remove any migrant, including asylum seekers, drawing the ire of immigration advocates and Democrats.
While claiming that the border is closed to non-essential travel, the Biden team has allowed Title 42 removal exemptions to unaccompanied children.
Republicans have introduced legislation to preserve Title 42, asserting that revoking it will worsen the border crisis.