The Biden administration on Thursday announced a narrow new rule that would allow officials to remove some illegal immigrants considered a public safety or national security threat much earlier in the asylum process.

The rule would allow statutory denials to asylum typically applied later in the asylum process to be applied earlier at the initial screening process, which typically happens within days of someone arriving at the border. It would apply to those considered a risk to national security, including terrorists, or public safety.

A epartment of Homeland Security (DHS) senior official who briefed reporters noted it would likely only affect a small population but said it would be “an important additional tool in our toolbox that will allow us to remove individuals much more quickly who may pose a risk to the United States, enhancing our security at the border, while at the same time saving taxpayer money.”


The administration also announced revised guidance that allows asylum officers to consider whether an asylum seeker could instead relocate to a different part of his home country when assessing if he has a basis for asylum. 

The administration says it wants to see more sweeping changes to what it says is a “broken” system but says those changes can only come from congressional action.

“The proposed rule we have published today is yet another step in our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of the American public by more quickly identifying and removing those individuals who present a security risk and have no legal basis to remain here,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. 


“We will continue to take action, but fundamentally it is only Congress that can fix what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system,” he said.

The Biden administration last year enacted a broader asylum rule that makes illegal immigrants ineligible for asylum if they have crossed multiple countries without claiming asylum. But it is unclear what effect that has had. Numbers have dropped in recent months, but only after hitting a record high of more than 200,000 encounters in December. 

The rule is unlikely to satisfy Republican critics, who have blamed the administration for rolling back Trump-era policies and enacting what they say are “open border” policies. 

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., called the rule “an unserious, politically motivated attempt to address a significant problem the Biden administration itself created.”

“The rule will not impact or reduce the millions of illegitimate asylum claims being filed by economic migrants. The department currently cannot properly vet the vast majority of illegal aliens crossing the border, as numerous tragic reports from our communities make clear. The Biden administration, however, would have us believe that vetting under this rule will somehow be effective,” Green said, responding to reports of the rule on Wednesday and adding “nothing will change.”

The administration has rejected claims it is embracing “open border” policies and has pointed to stats it says show more than 720,000 removals or returns of illegal immigrants since May 2023, more than in every full fiscal year since 2011.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.

Get the latest updates on the ongoing border crisis from the Fox News Digital immigration hub.

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