McALLEN, Texas (border report). The total number of pending immigration cases now exceeds 2 million, with an average waiting time of four years, according to a new report.
And for the first time in history, the number of pending asylum cases exceeds 800,000, according to a report released this week by Syracuse University’s Transaction Record Clearinghouse (TRAC).
The report also says the number of Venezuelans seeking asylum has dropped significantly, especially after the Department of Homeland Security ordered Venezuelans illegally crossing the border between ports of entry back to Mexico in October. Prior to this, Venezuelans were exempt from Section 42 due to the US’s lack of diplomatic relations with the Venezuelan government.
But earlier this month, Mexico agreed to accept Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans in addition to the Venezuelans three months ago.
“Individuals from these four countries face increased use of expulsion and expedited removal and may not even be allowed to seek asylum when attempting to enter that country,” the report says.
Under the new policy, no more than 30,000 asylum seekers from these four countries per month will receive humanitarian parole in the United States during their immigration procedures. And they must apply for an interview with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the border port through the agency’s CBP One app.
A TRAC report released on Wednesday notes a significant drop in the number of Venezuelans who have been issued a notice to appear (NTA) by DHS, the first step towards obtaining asylum in the US. According to the report, in January 2022, 25% of all NTAs were issued to Venezuelans. By the end of December, this figure fell to 8%.
At the beginning of the calendar year, Venezuelans, Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans made up 57% of all asylum seekers who received an NTA.
The report says the drop cannot be entirely attributable to the new policy, and the Biden administration would be “reckless” to consider the new policy a success based on the numbers.
“There are many other important factors that affect immigration flows and the issuance of new NTAs. This makes it difficult, if not reckless, to predict – based on this data – how these particular administrative policy changes will affect future filing trends,” the report says.
In August, the number of cases brought by immigration courts reached a record monthly high of 100,391 cases. It fell to 62,851 in September but recovered to 84,070 in October, the report said.
In his speech Thursday at the US Conference of Mayors in Washington, DC, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Majorcas stressed that there is no single solution to stop illegal immigration. He says it’s a hemispheric crisis and named the 2.5 million Venezuelans now living in Colombia and 1.5 million in Peru. He said 350,000 Haitians live in Brazil and Chile, and Costa Rica doubled the number of Nicaraguans living within its borders last year.
“The threats and challenges we face are evolving, becoming more diverse and dynamic. However, we can meet this moment if and only if we work together,” Mallorcas told the mayors. “The issue of migration is not unique to the United States or the frontier communities that face it every day.”
Sandra Sanchez can be contacted at [email protected]