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New process for asylum cases at the border

The departments of Justice and Homeland Security are issuing a rule to allow U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials, rather than immigration judges, to make decisions on claims by migrants at the border that they cannot return to their home countries for fear of torture or persecution. This rule would not apply to unaccompanied children.

If the USCIS officials determine a person cannot claim asylum, then those individuals will face deportation and proceedings will be handled within 90 days by an immigration judge. 

But if the person seeking asylum is able to establish a credible fear of persecution, they get an appointment with an asylum officer 21 to 45 days after the determination is made. The officer then has 60 days after the interview to determine whether to grant asylum. 

An asylum case before a judge can take anywhere from two to three years, Whitlock said. If a migrant is granted asylum, then they are allowed to stay in the U.S. and qualify for permanent residency a year after that decision.