Border Patrol Officers to Be Trained in Conducting Asylum Interviews

Theoretically, we could end up deporting them in two weeks, rather than two to five years…

620 Illegal Aliens in Large Groups Pour Across New Mexico's Unprotected Border

A group of illegals in Sunland Park, N.M. was one of two, each numbering more than 300 people, that Border Patrol took into custody on Monday. / PHOTO: Customs and Border Patrol

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) The Trump administration announced a new initiative to let immigration and border officers conduct interviews with asylum seekers directly on the border, according to officials with knowledge of the plan.

Right now, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers are the only ones legally permitted to conduct “credible fear interviews,” which immigrants seeking asylum must pass to gain entry into the U.S.

But if the Department of Homeland Security’s new plan takes effect, Border Patrol agents along the southern border will also be able to interview applicants, expediting the process and hopefully relieving the overburdened system.

The Trump administration is pushing to start agent training “ASAP,” one official told the Washington Examiner.

The official said that although this necessary training would leave fewer agents available for enforcement duties, it would gradually reduce the number of undocumented immigrants seeking refuge in the U.S.

“If that gets rolled out and we actually start deporting people within a timely manner, you’re going to see the numbers drop exponentially,” the official said.

There are currently fewer than 500 immigration judges nationwide, with the 900,000 asylum cases waiting to be decided. This new training would reduce the number of people who pass the asylum stage, reducing the number of overall cases.

The DHS said it will not wait to obtain congressional approval because they are within the law. Border Patrol agents are immigration officials, which is a prerequisite requirement to be considered an asylum officer.

Immigrants whose “credible fear” claims are denied would have the ability to appeal the decision, but would only have 10 days to have their cases heard, according to one official.

“Theoretically, we could end up deporting them in two weeks, rather than two to five years,” the source said.

The time frame would put the immigrants within the parameters of the Flores settlement, which dictates that minors may be detained for no more than 20 days before being released to the care of a guardian (legal or illegal).

This loophole—which prompted Trump’s ill-fated and short-lived separation policy last year—has resulted in many “family” units having to be released into the U.S. while awaiting their hearings.