DHS Finalizes’ Circumvention of Lawful Pathways’ Regulation

On May 10, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) finalized a federal regulation intended to change the method by which migrants are processed at the Southern border. The rule will be formally published on May 16, 2023, but an unpublished rule can be found here. The rule creates a presumption that individuals who use unlawful pathways to enter the U.S. are ineligible for asylum. This presumption can only be rebutted by demonstrating “exceptionally compelling circumstances.” 

The rule fundamentally alters the U.S. asylum system, and many have questioned its legality. The rule faces a legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups. The Biden administration responded to the rule’s criticism by pointing to the administration’s expansion of legal pathways for certain migrant populations, such as those from Venezuela, Cuba, and Haiti.