Study: Asylum Rates Drop As Immigration Cases Are Fast-Tracked

December 1, 2022

A new study has found that while immigration courts approved a record number of asylum claims in 2022, that surge may be derailed as more asylum seekers’ court cases are fast-tracked and people face tougher odds of winning protection.

In a study released Tuesday, Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) found that since July, the rate at which asylum was granted has fallen and it “coincides with the extremely rapid increase in expedited cases.”

Fiscal Year 2022 saw the largest number of individuals granted asylum of any year in the history of U.S. immigration court. However, researchers found that the quicker the cases went through the courts, the lower the asylum seekers’ chances. 

For instance, when asylum cases were completed within three to 18 months, only 31% of cases were granted asylum.

In other words, “More asylum cases were granted last year than any other year but the grant rate is actually going down in recent months,” according to Syracuse University professor and researcher Austin Kocher.

He added that the Biden Administration is “taking the backlog seriously and they really do want asylum cases to get decided more quickly but the problem is, as the data shows, that if you really speed cases up individuals don’t always have time to get attorneys and they don’t always have time to gather the full application materials that are necessary.”

With Title 42, the health code-related policy that allowed for the expulsion of migrants during the pandemic, set to expire December 21, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified before the Senate in November that the Administration has a plan ready for its replacement, saying, “We are enhancing the consequences for unlawful entry, especially with respect to individuals who seek to evade law enforcement, including removal, detention and criminal prosecution when warranted.”

However, it’s unclear how, or if, the Biden Administration will put new measures into place for migrants who want to claim asylum in the U.S.

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