(Released 30 March 2022) The Department of Homeland Security works to secure and manage our borders while building a fair and orderly immigration system.
Violence, food insecurity, poverty, and lack of economic opportunity in several countries in the Western Hemisphere are driving unprecedented levels of migration to our Southwest Border. The devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region has only exacerbated these challenges. Human smuggling organizations peddle misinformation that the border is open. DHS is implementing a comprehensive strategy to address a potential increase in the number of border encounters.
The strategy includes: 1) Acquiring and deploying resources to address increased volumes; 2) Delivering a more efficient and fair immigration process; 3) Processing and removing those who do not have valid claims; and 4) Working with other countries in the Western Hemisphere to manage migration and address root causes.
There is broad agreement that our immigration system is fundamentally broken. The Biden-Harris Administration continues to call on Congress to pass legislation that holistically addresses the root causes of migration, fixes the immigration system, and strengthens legal pathways.
1. Acquiring and deploying resources to address increased volumes.
Developed an integrated and scalable plan to activate and mobilize resources.
DHS initiated a Southwest Border contingency planning effort last fall. Last month, the Secretary designated a Senior Coordinating Official and established the Southwest Border Coordination Center (SBCC) to coordinate planning, operations, engagement, and interagency support.
Ready to surge personnel and resources to the Southwest Border.
DHS has moved officers, agents, and DHS Volunteer Force personnel to rapidly decompress points along the border and more efficiently process migrants.
Increasing CBP temporary holding capacity to process high volumes of individuals in a humane manner.
CBP has mobilized resources to rapidly stand up, expand, and/or reinforce Central Processing Centers in order to provide more efficient end-to-end processing for migrants encountered at the Southwest Border. Additionally, more ICE staff will be deployed to the border to facilitate processing.
Utilized appropriated resources to improve border processing.
In its FY22 appropriations bill, Congress provided an additional $1.45 billion for a potential Southwest Border surge, including $1.06 billion for CBP soft-sided facilities, medical care, transportation, and personnel costs; $239.7 million for ICE for processing capacity, transportation, and personnel costs; and $150 million for FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program at the Southwest Border. Earlier this week, President Biden submitted to Congress its FY23 Budget, which would fund the hiring of 300 new Border Patrol Agents and 300 new Border Patrol Processing Coordinators.
While the 2022 appropriation exceeded the request and represents a historic funding level for DHS, the appropriation would not be sufficient to fund the potential resource requirements associated with the current increase in migrant flows. DHS will fund operational requirements by prudently executing its appropriations; reprioritizing and reallocating existing funding through reprogramming and transfers; requesting support from other Federal agencies; and finally, by engaging with Congress on any potential need for supplemental appropriations, as necessary.
2. Delivering a more efficient and fair immigration process.
Issued rule to expedite asylum claims.
On March 24, 2022, DHS and the Department of Justice issued a rule to improve and expedite processing of asylum claims made by recently arriving noncitizens, which provides for the expeditious granting of relief to those who have valid claims for asylum and prompt removal of those whose claims are denied. Once implemented at scale in the coming months, the rule will transform how cases are processed at the border. In President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget to Congress, he makes good on the promise of this rule by investing $375 million to hire the personnel needed to quickly process asylum claims.
A Dedicated Docket process for more efficient immigration hearings.
In partnership with the Department of Justice, DHS established a new, more efficient process called the Dedicated Docket to conduct speedier and fair immigration proceedings for families who arrive between ports of entry at the Southwest Border. As a result, the length of time it takes for many of these cases to reach a final disposition has decreased from years to months.
3. Processing and removing those who do not have valid claims.
Continuing to process migrants in accordance with the laws of the United States, including expeditiously removing those who do not have valid claims to remain in the United States.
Individuals who cross the border without legal authorization will be placed into removal proceedings and, if unable to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States, expeditiously removed. Those who attempt to enter the United States without authorization, and without a valid asylum claim, are subject to additional long-term consequences beyond removal from the United States, including bars to future immigration benefits.
Bringing targeted prosecutions of smugglers, repeat offenders, and those who seek to evade law enforcement.
In close coordination with the Department of Justice, DHS will refer border-related criminal activity to DOJ for prosecution where warranted, including that of smugglers, repeat offenders, and migrants who seek to evade U.S. Customs and Border Protection. U.S. Customs and Border Protection also continues to enforce its Repeat Offender initiative to target recidivism. Any single adult apprehended along the Southwest Border a second time, after having previously been apprehended and removed under Title 8, is referred for criminal prosecution. This initiative has improved DHS’s ability to escalate consequences and conserve processing resources.
4. Working with other countries in the Western Hemisphere to manage migration and address root causes.
Working closely with source and transit countries in the region to deter migration.
The Administration is working with source and transit countries in the region to facilitate the quick return of individuals who previously resided in those countries, as well as stem migration at its source. DHS, in coordination with the Department of State, has regular discussions with partner countries in the Hemisphere on migration related matters and continues to engage with foreign governments to improve cooperation with countries that systematically refuse or delay the repatriation of their nationals.
Signed Migration Arrangement with Costa Rica to address irregular migration.
On March 15, 2022, Secretary Mayorkas traveled to Costa Rica where he joined President Alvarado in announcing a bilateral Migration Arrangement, outlining our shared commitment to both manage migrant flows as well as to promote economic growth in the region. DHS and the Department of State are currently engaged with other countries in the region to advance similar objectives.
Continuing close partnership with the Government of Mexico on migration-related issues.
The Biden-Harris Administration continues to maintain a close partnership between with the Government of Mexico to stem irregular migration, creating viable legal pathways, fostering legitimate trade and travel, and combating the shared dangers of transnational crime. In March, Secretary Mayorkas made his fourth official visit to Mexico City where he and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador committed to the promotion of lawful trade and travel and a regional approach to migration management.
Released by U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Click HERE for source.