Border Management Solutions

Published on 7 February 2024 at 13:24

Border Management Solutions


The current funding negotiations have devolved into alarming and extreme proposals that would upend the country’s immigration system. Proposals to expand fast-track deportations (known as expedited removal), detain all new arrivals, and revive a failed expulsion authority at the border are “counter-productive” and would “break the border,” as DHS officials are themselves warning.  They would also cause incalculable harm to people fleeing violence in search of safety. Instead of these failed and inhumane policies, we can and should surge resources to the border and around the United States to facilitate swift processing and improve coordination and support so that new migrants can successfully navigate the immigration process and get to the communities–and employers–that need them. We should use anall of government approach” to leverage multiple agencies, improve efficiency, and alleviate pressure on the southern border.


We support the following five policies as opportunities to improve humane, orderly, and effective border management:




  • Invest in Processing Capacity at Ports of Entry for a More Orderly and Humane Border Management System to maximize screening and prompt processing of people as they arrive at the border.


  • Support and Improve Processing Options in the Americas to Reduce Pressure on the Southwest Border and Increase the Hosting and Protection Capacity of Other Countries in the Region to assist people in accessing protection and reduce irregular migration;


  • Improve Immigration Case Processing by Investing in Immigration Courts and Legal Representation to improve efficiency, fairness, and reliability so immigrants aren’t trapped in limbo;


  • Support Receiving Communities at the Border and Around the United States through Shelter and Services (SSP) Funding, Employment Authorization, and a Robust Center for Migrant Coordination so migrants can get to the communities and employers awaiting them and receive the support they need to thrive; and


  • Create Additional, and Bolster Existing, Lawful Pathways to the United States to Relieve Pressure on the Border and reflect global migration patterns which will bolster our domestic economy. 


Our organizations are ready to work with you to flesh out these proposals, and we support bold, effective, and creative solutions. We encourage you to invest in an immigration system that reflects and anticipates the needs of our country while respecting the rights of our communities.

Solutions in Detail


  • Invest in Processing Capacity at Ports of Entry for a More Orderly Border that Respects Asylum Law

CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations (OFO) are responsible for screening and processing travelers and migrants at ports of entry. It is imperative that OFO have the funding it needs to expedite screening and processing of people promptly as they arrive at the border to seek asylum or other forms of protection. OFO currently processes around 1,450 people per day with appointments from the CBP One app at only eight ports of entry across the southwest border, a woefully inadequate amount given numbers of crossings between ports of entry. The number of CBP One appointments has not increased since June 30, 2023. In addition, OFO needs sufficient resources to screen and process individuals who approach the port seeking humanitarian protection without appointments, which is a lawful way to seek asylum in the United States. Polling from earlier this year shows that 65 percent of voters approve of modernizing and improving ports of entry infrastructure to enhance screening and processing. Adequately staffing ports of entry and increasing processing capacity of people seeking protection will lead to a decrease in irregular crossings. Once individuals are processed, invest in community-based case support programs instead of punitive, unnecessary, and wasteful immigration detention


  • Support and Improve Processing Options in the Americas to Reduce Pressure on the Southwest Border and Increase Hosting Capacity of Other Countries in the Region

Apart from seeking asylum at the border, existing pathways to humanitarian protection in the Western Hemisphere are limited, backlogged, and difficult to access safely. Congress and the administration should continue to invest in and improve upon programs like the Safe Mobility Offices (SMOs), the parole programs for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans, regional refugee resettlement processing, the Central American Minors program, addressing root causes of migration,  and other options. The United States must build regular, equitable pathways and support regional refugee resettlement to the United States, including by investing in overseas and domestic refugee infrastructure, allowing people to travel to the United States in a safe and orderly way. Data analysis shows that protection measures like Temporary Protected Status (TPS), for example, will reduce migration to the southern border. It is essential that these options not be a replacement for non-discriminatory asylum access at the border. 


  • Improve Processing of Immigration Cases by Investing in Immigration Courts and Legal Representation 

After years of underfunding, the U.S. immigration court system is overwhelmed, with cases taking months or years to be resolved while our community members wait in limbo. More asylum-eligible cases should be resolved at the USCIS Asylum Office level to avoid unnecessary and inefficient referrals to the already backlogged immigration courts. This includes strengthening the use of the asylum processing rule by removing unrealistic and counterproductive deadlines, among other key fixes. Congress must ensure appropriate funding to USCIS to hire additional staff to address the backlog in asylum and work permit applications. Investing in immigration judges and other court personnel and legal representation for immigration proceedings is an investment in efficiency, fairness, and a more effective method of ensuring compliance at immigration court hearings. Building capacity in the adjudication system will ensure that all people facing an immigration judge have a measure of due process, which builds trust in the system and confidence in its outcomes. Legal representationcurrently lacking for the vast majority of people in immigration court proceedingshas been shown to bolster appearance rates dramatically and improve fair and orderly functioning of the court system. Further, robust case management that supports navigating the immigration process assists in creating efficiencies and ensuring fairness.


  • Support Receiving Communities at the Border and Around the United States through Shelter and Services (SSP) Funding, Employment Authorization, and Creation of a Center for Refugee and Migrant Coordination

Mayors, state leaders, employers, and community organizations around the country have asked for support and stronger coordination for communities receiving immigrants. Employers are eager for expedited work permits and more streamlined renewals so that immigrant workers can get to the communities waiting to receive them. Recently, USCIS has started to co-locate at some migrant shelters at the border and in major cities to speed up eligible immigrants’ ability to work in cities across the US. This co-location allows USCIS to begin the work authorization process, and in some cases, grant work authorization on the spot, expediting immigrants’ ability to become self-sufficient. This and similar efforts should be robustly resourced.


Cities and states are looking for stronger and more consistent funding to support immigrants with accessing housing, health care, legal aid, and other basic services while they and their families get settled in the communities to which they are already contributing. SSP is an existing federal funding resource for communities welcoming new arrivals in an orderly and humane manner. State and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and faith-based organizations help decompress CBP holding facilities and provide essential care to ensure a dignified transition for people seeking asylum from government custody to the community receiving them. Congress should explore and expand other investments in receiving communities, including, but not limited to, growing programs like the Case Management Pilot Program (CMPP) and investing in the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which provides integration services to many border arrivals, and otherwise directly supports receiving states and localities via programs like school impact grants.


Finally, Congress should mandate and provide robust funding for a new federal Center for Refugee and Migrant Coordination designed to bring together DHS, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), state and local governments, and NGOs across the border and United States, to streamline and strengthen federal support, practices, and procedures for migrant release, transport, and assistance. 


  • Create Additional, and Bolster Existing, Lawful Pathways

The United States last updated our legal immigration system over 33 years ago. In a 21st-century world of global mobility, our archaic legal immigration system drives people into more desperate pathways to find the American Dream or secure their loved ones’ safety. By revitalizing the legal pathways in our immigration system, we can not only provide people with options to come to this country that don’t require trekking thousands of miles through the Americas, but we can also address long-standing labor shortages, help families reunite, and supercharge our economy. That begins by increasing overall visa allocations, recapturing visas that went unused in previous years, creating new forms of refugee processing abroad, granting TPS designations to eligible countries, and innovating with robust alternate legal pathways that offer safer and more efficient ways of migration than today’s extremely limited pathways. Congress should explore how it can expand legal channels where individuals can self-petition for their entry into the country, which would help meet these goals by eliminating the need to secure a sponsor to enter the country. Congress should also make significant investments in our immigration system’s ability to track the long-term experiences and outcomes of individuals who come to the United States. Gathering this information can help lawmakers make adjustments to these pathways to maximize the ability of newcomers to thrive in their communities.


American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 

American Immigration Council

Church World Service


Human Rights First

National Immigrant Justice Center

Women’s Refugee Commission



Community Change Action

The Immigration Hub

National Immigration Law Center (NILC)




Additional or Expanded Resources


Human Rights First: Upholding And Upgrading Asylum: Recommendations for the Biden Administration 



  • Strengthen its initiatives to build regular pathways and regional refugee resettlement to the United States;
  • Increase humanitarian aid to address gaps in regional refugee protection that push people north;
  • Uphold asylum and maximize access to U.S. ports of entry;
  • Upgrade asylum adjudications so they are prompt, fair and efficient; and
  • Improve coordination, resources, and swift access to work permits.


The Refugee Protection Act of 2022

Summary: The Refugee Protection Act of 2022 builds upon prior iterations of the legislation by bolstering the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), restoring due process for asylum seekers, and expanding protections for refugees, for immigrants cooperating with law enforcement, and for foreign nationals assisting U.S. troops. The bill contains many gold standard, best-practices for processing of people arriving to seek protection as well as improving external processing of refugee populations.


AILA: Effective Border Management Policy Brief


  • Modernize border processing to ensure efficient and meaningful access to asylum and due process.
  • Use an “all of government approach” to leverage multiple agencies, improve efficiency, and alleviate pressure on the southern border. 
  • Expand and improve legal channels to the United States for those seeking work, safety and family unity.
  • Ensure agencies and communities involved have adequate resources to meet the task at hand. 
  • Decrease migration pressures through investment and partnership with other nations. 


American Immigration Council: Beyond a Border Solution: Building a Humanitarian Protection System That Won’t Break


  1. Expand Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Field Operations’ capacity to process asylum seekers at ports of entry 
  2. Surge resources to U.S. Border Patrol to improve humanitarian processing and transportation of migrants
  3. Establish a Center for Migrant Coordination to coordinate federal, state, and local efforts to resettle migrants and get them on their feet.
  4. Grow federal support for case management alternatives to detention to help migrants navigate the asylum system.
  5. Revamp asylum processing at USCIS to keep up with both affirmative asylum backlogs and the new border processing rule.
  6. Begin clearing immigration court asylum backlogs through the use of prosecutorial discretion, hiring new immigration judges, and a path to legal status permitting the system to restart with a blank slate.
  7. Construct noncustodial regional processing centers where federal agencies are co-located with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to carry out processing, coordinate release, and provide effective case management for newly-arrived migrants.
  8. Fund a right to counsel in immigration court to improve efficiencies in the system and ensure due process for all individuals facing deportation.
  9. Create a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)- based Emergency Migration Fund to provide for a flexible and durable federal response during times of high migration.
  10. Increase legal immigration pathways through congressional overhaul of immigration laws and executive expansion of existing pathways.
  11. Build domestic and international refugee and asylum processing capacity in Latin America with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the international community.
  12. Bring asylum law into the 21st century, lifting harmful anti-immigrant laws passed in the 1990s and moving past a post-World War II framework for asylum.


Women’s Refugee Commission: Opportunities for Welcome: Lessons Learned for Supporting People Seeking Asylum in Chicago, Denver, New York City, and Portland, Maine


  • Congress must prioritize and substantially increase transparent, flexible, and responsive investment for state and local governments and community organizations providing housing and services in destination communities.
  • Provide community-led case management support services, that is, have local organizations with community knowledge and expertise help people seeking asylum meet their basic needs and find stability in their new communities.
  • Provide rental assistance programming tailored to the needs of people seeking asylum and private hosting programs that catalyze community involvement and integration.
  • Develop innovative legal assistance programs that maximize the limited capacity of immigration legal service providers and private attorneys.
  • Leverage public-private partnerships that capitalize on the complementary strengths of government and community resources. 


Center for New American Security: Beyond the LA Declaration: Developing Permanent U.S. and Hemispheric Protocols for the Western Hemisphere’s Migration Challenge


  • The scope and scale of migration in the Western Hemisphere demonstrates the need for its countries to coordinate their responses to improve the management of these movements.
  • While the Los Angeles Declaration (LA Declaration) is one of the most important and ambitious efforts to establish the institutional foundations for organizing this coordination, the absence of a proper “LA Process” where countries meet once or twice a year to revise this coordination means it will fail to respond to emerging challenges.
  • The signatories of the LA Declaration should establish this process, especially when a major migration challenge requires countries to establish temporary or new pillars for addressing these events.
  • The U.S. can support these efforts by establishing the U.S. Hemispheric Migration Engagement Task Force to coordinate the U.S. government’s coordination with other countries through the LA Declaration and other multilateral and bilateral engagements on this issue.

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