Jennie Taer on September 6, 2022
The record number of illegal migrants that have entered the United States since President Joe Biden took office are burdening the country’s immigration system, The New York Times reported.
Since the start of the Biden administration, migrants have flowed into the U.S. in record numbers, with 3,463,430 migrants encountered at the southern border between January 2021 and August 2022, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The high number of migrants entering the country are taxing the U.S. asylum system by increasing wait times and forcing cities and states to take on the burden of supporting them.
Once in the country, migrants wait around five to seven years for asylum cases to be fully adjudicated and appeals add additional time, The NYT reported.
“While the immigration system is badly broken, D.H.S. is managing it responsibly, safely and humanely, and ensuring legal pathways are available for those who truly need them,” spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Luis Miranda said in a statement, according to The NYT.
The federal government also cannot provide adequate care to support the humanitarian needs of the migrants, who wait about a year to be able to work in the U.S., according to the NYT. There is no funding, like there is for refugees, to support the migrants seeking asylum at the federal level and the burden is then handed to cities and states.
Cities like Portland, Maine, have experienced parts of the issue because the state provides many public benefits to asylum seekers. The benefits include medical care and housing through the Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Since Jan. 2021, over 700 asylum-seeking families have gone to Portland.
In May, the city of Portland said shelter capacity was full and that the housing program was no longer guaranteed, according to The NYT. The city later funded more housing to the tune of $9 million, which raised property taxes by 4.8% on residents
The plan included housing for 140 families seeking asylum, as well as temporary shelter for 280 homeless adults.
“The community is growing so big that the word is traveling that we are helping. So more people are coming,” Mike Guthrie, the director of Portland’s family shelter, according to the NYT.
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