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Immigration lawyers association says Biden's new asylum process 'sacrifices fairness for speed'

An association of immigration lawyers is calling on the Biden administration to stop doing asylum interviews in Border Patrol custody.

The administration officially rolled out the new procedure in May, when pandemic-era border restrictions came to an end, and the Biden administration’s new asylum procedures went into effect. 

Under the new rule, asylum officers conduct what’s called a credible fear interview with asylum seekers while they're still in Border Patrol custody. 

The interview is to determine whether the person is eligible for protection in the United States. And under the new timeline, that interview can happen in as little as 24 hours after the person’s arrival.

In a letter to administration officials, the American Immigration Lawyers Association says the rule sacrifices fairness for speed, because it makes it hard or impossible to find legal representation. The lawyers say the interview should be done outside Border Patrol custody and give asylum seekers ample time to recover from trauma and find lawyers. 

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.