McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday filed his 11th lawsuit against the Biden administration over border security policies, this time over new expedited asylum screening rules that are to begin at the end of May.
The new rules would allow authorized asylum officers from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to screen migrant applicants who are subject to expedited removal from the United States. Those who assert a fear of prosecution or torture and pass a credible-fear screening will be allowed to remain.
Normally credible fear screenings are conducted by U.S. immigration judges, but last month the leaders of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice announced a change in asylum screening procedures they said would more quickly help hear claims by the masses of migrants who are crossing the Southwest border.
Congress also has supported this new rule, appropriating money to hire USCIS officers who are to work alongside U.S. Border Patrol agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in what is being touted one-stop processing facilities that are being built along the border with Mexico.
But Paxton’s lawsuit, filed Thursday in the US. District Court Northern District of Texas in Amarillo, claims the new rule provides too many loopholes for migrants who do not qualify for asylum to remain and seek asylum in the United States. And he says it unfairly “upends the entire adjudicatory system.”
The new rule “transfers significant authority from immigration judges to asylum officers, grants those asylum officers significant additional authority, limits immigration-judge review to denials of applications, and upends the entire adjudicatory system to the benefit of aliens,” according to the 21-page lawsuit.
“The last thing Texas needs is for this administration to make it easier for illegal aliens to enter the U.S. and obtain asylum through false claims and less oversight. We know what’s going to happen when the rule goes into effect in May 2022: wave upon wave of illegal aliens claiming ‘asylum.’ It’s true that our immigration system is extremely backlogged. But the answer is to secure the border, not overwhelm it even more by enacting cheap, easy incentives for illegal aliens to get into the United States,” Paxton said in a statement.
The lawsuit was filed against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland — who last month announced the new asylum screening changes — as well as against President Joe Biden and leaders of USCIS, CBP, Immigration Customs and Enforcement, and the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which is the agency that oversees U.S. immigration courts.
This is the 11th lawsuit Paxton’s office has filed against the Biden administration relating to border security policies.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has repeatedly criticized Biden and DHS for failing to secure the southern border. And has openly condemned the Biden administration’s plans on May 23 to lift Title 42, a public health rule that has allowed border agents to immediately expel migrants who unlawfully entered the country back to Mexico to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Abbott again reiterated those claims on Wednesday when he stopped in McAllen, Texas, and explained why he is crowdsourcing for online donations from the public to help fund buses of migrants the State of Texas is sending to Washington, D.C.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com