USA: Asylum rates drop as immigration cases are fast-tracked, research finds

Balance between speed/efficiency and fairness, there are trade-offs:

Fast-tracked immigration cases appear to be hurting migrants’ chances of being granted asylum, researchers are finding.

“The big takeaway message is that the Biden administration really is trying to speed up cases but data shows when you speed up cases they lose,” Syracuse University professor and researcher Austin Kocher told Border Report as he toured the South Texas border on Wednesday.

Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, orTRAC, one of the nation’s leading researchers on immigration court cases, on Tuesday released a study that found that since July, asylum grant rates have fallen and it “coincides with the extremely rapid increase in expedited cases.”

Although Fiscal Year 2022 had the largest number of individuals granted asylum of any year in immigration court history, in digging into the data, researchers found that the quicker the cases went through the courts, the lower the asylum seekers’ chances.

TRAC found that when asylum cases were completed within three to 18 months, only 31% of cases were granted asylum.

“More asylum cases were granted last year than any other year but the grant rate is actually going down in recent months,” Kocher said.

(TRAC Graphic)

Border Report met up with Kocher on Wednesday as he was on day 5 of his visit to South Texas as part of a seven-week research tour of the entire Southwest border.

He said immigration cases require collecting massive amounts of evidence and documents, and TRAC data has found that migrants who retain lawyers have a higher chance of being granted asylum. He said the rushed cases could be limiting and preventing asylum-seekers from gathering all the data they need to present full cases to the judges, and it could be preventing them from getting legal counsel altogether.

“We definitely know that the Biden administration has tried to accelerate these cases to try to clear out the backlog,” Kocher said. “They really are 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.”

Kocher crossed into Reynosa, Mexico, early Wednesday, and said he spoke with several migrants there who expressed their lack of resources and lack of legal aid as they wait across the border due to Title 42 restrictions.

Source: Asylum rates drop as immigration cases are fast-tracked, research finds

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: