The Department of Homeland Security has reversed a Trump-era policy limiting the entry of asylum-seekers at land ports of entry on the southern border, according to a recently released memo from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The Trump-era practice essentially created a waitlist that allowed migrants to enter only if the department had the capacity to process and detain them at one of its facilities.
Migrants can still be expelled under a Trump-era public health order.
"Today, Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas rescinded Secretary [Kirstjen] Nielsen's June 5, 2018 memorandum, Prioritization-Based Queue Management, upon my recommendation," acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller wrote in a memo, referring to the previous and current Department of Homeland Security secretaries.
A 2020 Homeland Security inspector general report found that turning away asylum seekers led to some of them crossing the border illegally between ports of entry where Border Patrol agents would take them into custody, get overwhelmed and increasingly release them into the United States, the Washington Examiner reported.
With the new guidance, the Biden administration will instead increase the number of its CBP Office of Field Operations officers assigned to registering asylum-seekers claims at the ports of entry on the southern border.
The added responsibility comes as the United States, beginning Nov. 8, will begin allowing vaccinated tourists to travel into the country for the first time in 18 months. Long lines are expected, CBP officials said in a briefing Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reported.
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