A group of migrants rest after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border through the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday. Justin Hamel/Bloomberg

President Biden’s administration will propose a new rule that would allow the U.S. to more quickly expel some undocumented migrants seeking to claim asylum, as the White House grapples with a historic surge of illegal immigration that has strained state and local resources and become a political liability headed into November’s election.

The proposal, to be unveiled Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security, would allow immigration officials to perform an initial eligibility determination at the time migrants are first screened for asylum status, according to people familiar with the plans.

That would allow the U.S. to more quickly designate individuals as national security or public safety risks and speed deportation compared to the current system. That’s a relatively small percentage of those intercepted at the border, and the move is seen by administration officials as relatively minor compared to some of the additional restrictions on the asylum process that could be packaged in a presidential executive order that is currently being considered.

Biden is not expected to speak about the DHS rule, which will be published in the Federal Register.

White House officials have been considering unilateral action on the border since the collapse of a bipartisan deal negotiated in the Senate that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump urged members of his party to reject. Trump has criticized Biden for the rate of border crossings and vowed to implement more draconian restrictions if he’s elected in November.

“There’s more actions to be taken,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters earlier Wednesday while encouraging lawmakers to reconsider the bipartisan deal.

Aides have said Biden wanted to make sure his executive actions could withstand legal scrutiny. Some of the border measures Trump attempted to implement during his first term were subsequently overturned by federal courts, limiting the possible actions by Biden to restrict illegal border flows. As a proposed rule, the DHS effort is likely to take time before it is implemented as the administration seeks to clear regulatory hurdles.

U.S. authorities recorded more than 300,000 encounters at the border in December, though the numbers have fallen to just over half that level in the three months since.

Late last month, Biden directed his national security team to work with Mexican authorities to curb the number of illegal border crossings. Since then the administration has announced new steps for tougher immigration enforcement on railways, buses and airports as well as increased repatriation flights from both the U.S. and Mexico.

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