EXCLUSIVE: A group of 30 Republican senators led by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., are partnering with Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., in introducing a resolution to repeal the Biden administration’s asylum rule, saying the president’s plan “exacerbates” the border crisis.
The lawmakers are introducing a “joint resolution of disapproval” under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) Thursday in order to remove a rule by the Biden administration that they say would “illegally upend” the United States’ asylum system.
The Biden administration’s new rule, which was announced in August 2021 and officially inserted into the federal register on March 29, is aimed at cutting the time for processing asylum claims from years to months.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
The rule, from the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security, will allow U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers to evaluate the asylum applications of people who would be eligible for expedited removal from the country, after such individuals pass a required screening for a credible fear of persecution or torture from their country of origin. Currently, only immigration judges can decide these matters, and this has led to a tremendous backlog of cases which end up dragging on for years.
The group of senators and congressmen take issue with the provision in the Biden rule that they argue would “encourage fraudulent asylum claims” by allowing migrants to have claims processed and approved by USCIS, not immigration judges. In addition, they remain concerned that migrants would not be detained while awaiting the results of their pending applications for asylum.
“The Biden administration is sending a clear message: our borders are open, you will not be kept in custody, and you will not have to see a judge to stay here. In a year where we have surpassed 2 million illegal crossings at the southern border, the proposed rule will only lead to more illegal migration for an already overwhelmed immigration system,” Johnson told Fox News Digital.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., is warning of a dire border situation after a trip to Yuma, Arizona. (Rep. Andy Biggs)
“We strongly oppose the Biden Administration’s reckless attempt to unconstitutionally rewrite the asylum laws in America. The changes the administration is proposing cannot come from unelected bureaucrats, but rather from Congress,” the senator continued.
Biggs called on the Biden administration to “end its illegal catch and release policies and enforce the law” in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“Open border zealots within the Administration are drastically remaking our immigration system under the guise of enhancing humanitarian protections,” Biggs said.
“This couldn’t be further from the truth. This proposed rule weakens the integrity of our asylum system and will facilitate mass illegal alien incursions. Rather than focusing on releasing aliens as quickly as possible, the Biden Administration should reimplement Trump Administration policies that worked to secure our border,” he said.
US Secretary Of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas / Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.
(JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP via Getty Images; Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
The Biden administration lauded its proposed rule, with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayoras saying it would improve efficiency at the border.
“These proposed changes will significantly improve DHS’s and DOJ’s ability to more promptly and efficiently consider the asylum claims of individuals encountered at or near the border, while ensuring fundamental fairness,” Mayorkas said in August 2021. “Individuals who are eligible will receive relief more swiftly, while those who are not eligible will be expeditiously removed. We are building an immigration system that is designed to ensure due process, respect human dignity, and promote equity.”
In October 2021, Johsnon led 23 senators and 66 House lawmakers in submitting public comment to the rule. They claimed it “represents a blatant violation of the laws passed by Congress,” focusing on how Biden’s plan ignored the “mandatory detention” of migrants claiming asylum.
The CRA allows Congress to reverse only some federal agency regulations through a joint resolution of disapproval. The rule will be deemed invalidated if the resolution is approved by the House and the Senate and signed by the president.
The Biden administration is also in the process of ending the Title 42 public health order that has allowed the expired removal of migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Democrats and Republicans are concerned that it will lead to an unsustainable migrant rush at the Mexico-U.S. border.
In addition, the state of Texas is seeking a permanent block for the asylum rule, according to a Thursday lawsuit obtained by Fox News Digital.
Fox News’ Ronn Blizter contributed to this report.
Kelly Laco is a politics editor for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to Kelly.Laco@Fox.com and on Twitter: @kelly_laco.