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Test program aims to speed up asylum claims

The Department of Homeland Security is testing a program that speeds up reviews of asylum claims.

The pilot project – called the ” Prompt Asylum Case Review ” system started October 7 in El Paso, Texas. Its goal is to have a judge make a decision on asylum claims within ten days.

The program gives asylum seekers 24-hours of access to a phone in a private room before their initial screening. They can also file an appeal by phone if they fail their first screening.

Little else is known about the program, because Homeland Security has not yet made it public. Immigration officials confirmed the existence of the project to the Washington Post, but offered few details except to say it’s a joint effort with the Justice Department.

The program has immigration attorneys complaining. They say they have no access to their clients prior to the screening because they’re not allowed in Border Patrol holding centers.

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