The Biden administration plans to ease asylum restrictions and admit up to 7,750 refugees into the U.S. each month, even as the border crisis continues to overwhelm immigration facilities.
Under a new agreement struck as part of a federal court case, President Joe Biden committed to processing up to 250 asylum seekers a day, according to an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who was involved in the negotiations.
This means admitted immigrants will be free to stay in the U.S. while they await their court hearings.
Former president Donald Trump limited asylum seekers and protected America’s borders by ending the “catch and release” policy and enforcing Title 42, which expelled most single adult migrants from the U.S. immediately because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ACLU sued the federal government in a challenge to Title 42, which prompted Biden to make concessions.
The news comes as illegal crossings reached a 20-year high last month.
Immigration officials apprehended more than 178,622 illegal immigrants at the southern border, and migrant housing facilities are still so full that the administration has had to house immigrants in nearby hotels.
Last month alone, border officials arrested 111,000 single adults, and though most were returned to Mexico, officials said many will try to enter the country illegally again.
Nearly 40 percent of the adults they arrest are reoffenders, Customs and Border Protection said.
Despite this humanitarian crisis, many leftists argued that Biden should admit even more refugees.
“While these concessions will hopefully save lives, they are not a substitute for eliminating Title 42 and restoring asylum processing fully,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.
Leftists have ratcheted up pressure to end expulsions entirely, arguing that they cannot be defended solely on the grounds of protecting public health.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.