Report finds there are over 1.6 million migrants with unresolved asylum claims

 August 18, 2023

In yet another sign President Joe Biden has failed to secure the border, a new report revealed that there are over 1.6 million migrants in the United States with unresolved asylum claims. 

According to Breitbart, those findings were made public on Wednesday by Andrew Arthur, a former immigration judge who is currently a resident fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

Asylum seekers massively outnumber immigration judges

Arthur cited Department of Justice (DOJ) data showing that there are "nearly 800,000 defensive asylum claims awaiting adjudication before fewer than 650 immigration judges."

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) explains on its website that "[a] defensive application for asylum occurs when you request asylum as a defense against removal from the United States."

Meanwhile, there is a backlog of another 842,000 "affirmative asylum applications which are awaiting adjudication by fewer than 850 USCIS asylum officers.

Affirmative asylum refers to those who are actively seeking to remain in the United States because they have a "credible fear" of persecution in their home countries and are not in removal.

Backlog is now almost eight times bigger than it was in 2015

"When I left the bench in January 2015, there were just fewer than 210,000 pending asylum claims, which seemed like a lot, given that I was one of 250-plus immigration judges," Arthur recalled.

"By contrast, more than 256,000 asylum applications were filed with the immigration courts in FY 2022, and you can add 196,000 more that were filed in the first six months of FY 2023 – at a rate six times as high as nine years prior," he continued.

Arthur went on to point out the implications of President Joe Biden's policy of releasing those with pending asylum claims into the country.

"In FY 2015, the median completion time for a detained case was 35 days, and that’s from start to finish – from reading the charges to the alien respondent to issuing a decision and explaining appeal rights," Arthur noted.

Applicants now have an incentive to drag out the process

"That’s because asylum applicants in detention have no interest in drawing out the process; the longer it takes the judge to get to a decision, the longer aliens are in ICE custody," he explained.

"By contrast, in FY 2015, it took an immigration judge more than two years to hear a non-detained asylum case – almost 22 times as long," the former judge stressed.

"They wanted to draw the process out so they could continue to live and work here and build up the equities that could lead to some other form of relief," Arthur wrote.

The former judge went on to highlight how the number of people awaiting to have their asylum claims adjudicated now exceeds the population in 11 states.


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