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DHS Official: US immigration system badly broken, doesn't meet needs

DHS official talks to Scripps News and sheds light on the consequences of a "badly broken" U.S. immigration system.
DHS Official: US immigration system badly broken, doesn't meet needs
Posted at 10:12 AM, May 11, 2023

An intensifying situation is happening right now at the southern U.S. border.

The Secretary of Homeland Security is warning migrants that the U.S. borders are not open as the pandemic-era asylum restriction, known as Title 42, is set to expire at midnight Thursday.

The policy allowed border patrol to quickly send people back to Mexico with the intention of stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Border cities are already seeing a surge of migrants. On Tuesday alone, more than 11,000 people were arrested for crossing the border illegally — up from about 8,000 crossings a day last week.

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden predicted the U.S.-Mexico border would be "chaotic for a while" following the end of Title 42.

Luis Miranda, the principal deputy assistant secretary for communications at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, says the main reason it could be chaotic is because this is the highest migration we’ve seen across the world in 80 years and our immigration system is "badly broken."

SEE MORE: Title 42 is ending. So what laws take effect now?

"The problem with our immigration system is that it's badly broken and hasn't been updated to meet the realities of whether it meets our economic needs or what asylum requirements are needed," Miranda told Scripps News. "You have a system that basically has a very low bar for the initial credible fear screening but a very high bar for the ultimate decision and not enough resources to adjudicate those cases."

Miranda said that in order for the U.S. to have a safe and orderly way for migrants to use the immigration system, Congress needs to act and provide the resources and funding they need. 

"In December, we asked for $4 billion; they gave us half of that. So, there's a real need for us to work across government to really address the realities of what migration is from both the perspective of the migrants and the perspective of the economic needs of the United States," said Miranda.

For now, to help with the influx of migrants, the DHS is adding resources to the border with USCIS, adding ICE facilities, and partnering up with the Department of Justice to make sure those seeking asylum, as well as those who don't qualify for asylum, receive a quick answer on their case status, according to Miranda.

"We want a safe, orderly wave for migrants to use the immigration system," said Miranda. However, he reiterated that while they want to make sure migrants have options, laws will still need to be followed.

 "We have to get that message across that, you know, this is not about different nationalities. It's about, do you have a legal basis to come into the United States? And if you don't, you're gonna be put in removal proceedings."

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