DHS plans for more migrant releases when asylum limits end

Washington: The Department of Homeland Security said more migrants may be released into the United States to pursue immigration cases when Trump-era asylum restrictions end next week in one of its most detailed assessments ahead of the major policy shift.

The department reported faster processing for migrants in custody on the border, more temporary detention tents, staffing surges and increased criminal prosecutions of smugglers, noting progress on a plan announced in April.

But the seven-page document dated Tuesday included no major structural changes amid unusually large numbers of migrants entering the country. More are expected with the end of Title 42 authority, under which migrants have been denied rights to seek asylum more than 2.5 million times on grounds of preventing spread of COVID-19.

A federal judge in Washington ordered Title 42 to end Dec. 21 but Republican-led states asked an appeals court to keep it in place. The Biden administration has also challenged some aspects of the ruling, though it doesn’t oppose letting the rule lapse next week. The legal back-and-forth could go down to the wire.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas traveled this week to El Paso, Texas, which witnessed a large influx Sunday after becoming the busiest corridor for illegal crossings in October. El Paso has been a magnet for Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Cubans, Colombians, Ecuadoreans and other nationalities.

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