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Biden administration tries to tackle large backlog in asylum cases

The U.S. is looking at a plan to manage a substantial amount of asylum cases. The Department of Homeland Security could rule on cases instead of immigration judges.

The Biden administration is reportedly moving forward with a plan to shift where asylum cases are handled, in an effort to tackle a sizeable backlog in applications. 

The plan, as NPR reports, would try to speed up processing by allowing officials at the Department of Homeland Security to rule on claims without sending them to immigration court, where it would be ultimately up to immigration judges. 

Currently, in the U.S., about 1.3 million cases were being handled by just 540 immigration judges, where the expected wait time for a resolution on cases could take years for hopeful claimants. The new plan could change wait times for the process dramatically, and reportedly could greatly expand the number of people working the backlog in cases.

Credit: AP
This June 5, 2015, file photo, shows a view of the Homeland Security Department headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The planned change is said to also include improvements to the expedited removal process, which often results in deportation.

Guerline Jozef, the executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance told reporters in December of last year that many migrants headed to the U.S. to make asylum claims face a life and death situation which is urgent.

"We have people literally dying in Tijuana, in Matamoros, all over Mexico because of those policies that stop them from coming up for asylum," Jozef said, NPR reported.

This is a developing story and will be updated.