Home » Biden Administration’s ‘Mass Amnesty’: Over 350,000 Asylum Cases Dismissed in Quiet Overhaul

Biden Administration’s ‘Mass Amnesty’: Over 350,000 Asylum Cases Dismissed in Quiet Overhaul

by Richard A Reagan

The Biden administration has reportedly closed over 350,000 asylum cases since 2022 without reaching a decision on the merits of the claims.

Critics are labelling this action a “mass amnesty,” alleging that it allows migrants to remain in the U.S. indefinitely without proper legal status.

According to reports from The New York Post and data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, these closed cases primarily involve migrants without criminal records who are not deemed a threat to national security.

This has significantly eased the strain on the overloaded immigration system but has raised concerns about the lack of enforcement and oversight.

Under a memo issued by Kerry Doyle, ICE’s principal legal adviser, in 2022, immigration prosecutors were instructed to dismiss cases that did not pose a threat to national security. This policy shift led to a significant increase in the number of dismissed cases compared to previous years.

In 2022 alone, 102,550 cases were dismissed or taken off the books, and the figure jumped to 149,305 in 2023. So far in 2024, 113,843 cases have been closed, a sharp increase from the Trump administration’s figures.

The backlog of asylum cases, which now stands at approximately 3.5 million, has been a major challenge for the U.S. immigration system. The closing of these cases has ostensibly been aimed at reducing this backlog and improving administrative efficiency.

However, this has effectively left many migrants in a state of limbo; they are no longer in removal proceedings and are not obligated to leave the U.S., yet they cannot obtain benefits or work permits unless they reapply for asylum or seek other legal statuses.

This policy has not only affected the migrants but also placed a significant burden on ICE officers, who have reported increases in crime committed by migrants after their cases were closed. These developments force agents to start the lengthy removal proceedings all over again, further clogging the system.

Andrew Arthur, a former immigration judge now with the Center for Immigration Studies, criticized the policy.

“This is just a massive amnesty under the guise of prosecutorial discretion. You’re basically allowing people who don’t have a right to be in the United States to be here indefinitely,” said Arthur in an interview with The New York Post.

Amidst these administrative changes, the Biden administration has also introduced measures to tighten border controls. A new rule mandates that asylum claims must be resolved within 180 days for migrants heading to major U.S. cities like Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York City.

Moreover, plans are underway to impose a cap on migrant crossings at 4,000 per day, a response to the sustained high numbers of crossings, especially from the southwestern border.

As the U.S. heads into a presidential election year, immigration remains a critical issue. With the collapse of a bipartisan border bill and continued high numbers of illegal crossings, the administration’s strategies are under scrutiny.

Critics argue that while the Biden administration claims to be managing the border crisis, its policies may be enabling a backdoor form of amnesty, leaving the nation’s borders less secure and the immigration system in disarray.

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