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OTHERS SAY: A humanitarian approach

by Los Angeles Times | February 21, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

The Biden administration is allowing asylum seekers who have been living in limbo along the U.S.-Mexico border to enter the U.S. to await processing of their applications, a welcome redress of a cruelty inflicted by the Trump administration on up to 70,000 people seeking sanctuary.

Under the new policy, up to 25,000 migrants in President Donald Trump's "Remain in Mexico" program will be allowed to enter the U.S. . Their cases will be transferred to courts in cities near where they have relatives or places to stay.

The administration has also warned those without pending asylum cases not to try to enter the country.

This is where the problem is thorniest. Under U.S. law, anyone can show up at the border and request asylum. Those who asylum officers believe have demonstrated a credible fear of persecution if returned home are allowed to remain in the U.S. as their cases work through the immigration system. But the courts are hopelessly swamped with some 1.3 million pending cases, nearly double the caseload at the start of the Trump administration, and each case can take years to resolve.

At heart, the administration must adhere to a humane approach for new arrivals while working quickly to expand the immigration court system to meet the challenge.

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