Federal shift may increase asylum backlogs in Northeast

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An ICE detainee waves at people chanting and holding signs along the fence while boarding a Swift Air flight on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019 at McCormick Air Center in Yakima, Wash. (Evan Abell / Yakima Herald-Republic via AP)/Yakima Herald-Republic via AP)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Trump administrative directive to shift federal resources from Boston and Newark, New Jersey, could increase delays for asylum seekers in the Northeast.

The temporary reassignments are part of an attempt to reduce a backlog at the southern border, but it will have an impact in the Northeast.

Phillip Mantis from the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project tells the Portland Press Herald that the Boston and Newark offices already have a combined backlog of 40,000 cases. The reassigned staff from the northeast offices will be assisting with initial border interviews.

The newspaper said the move does not affect more than 400 asylum seekers from African countries who’ve come to Maine since June. Those individuals sought asylum at the border and their cases are already in the immigration system.

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