Late last week on November 9th, the White House released an official proclamation from the President of the United States. The proclamation addresses the issue of “mass migration” to the southern border of the United States. It begins, “The United States expects the arrival at the border between the United States and Mexico (southern border) of a substantial number of aliens primarily from Central America who appear to have no lawful basis for admission into our country.”
Given the likely arrival of these potential asylum seekers to the United States, the President determined that action was necessary. The action taken in the Presidential asylum proclamation is the suspension of asylum claims except those made at ports of entry and the suspension of certain aliens, entirely, for claims of asylum.
This asylum proclamation went into immediate effect, and the backlash was similarly immediate.
What Circumstances Led to the Asylum Proclamation?
In late October the media, the American people, and many politicians turned their attention to a caravan of people traveling from Central and South American countries through Mexico. According to members of the caravan, the intended destination, the dream destination is the United States.
There were strong opinions over the migrant caravan from the start. The timing of the caravan close the mid-term elections made it an ideal topic of political jostling, and for the last week of many conservative campaigns, immigration became a leading topic. It would take weeks for the caravan to reach the United States, but from the President and other politicians, there was already rhetoric of fear around the caravan’s arrival at the southern border.
Then, on October 29th the Administration ordered 5,600 U.S. troops to the southern border to stop the caravan from entering illegally or taking violent action to enter the United States at ports of entry. Instructive from the first caravan of migrants and refugees to arrive at the United States several months ago is the fact that most people will present themselves legally at the southern border and many others will ultimately remain in Mexico.
How Is Asylum Changed Under the Asylum Proclamation?
Asylum is already a complex and difficult process for individuals arriving in the United States. An asylum seeker is required to show a credible fear of persecution or torture in his or her home country as an initial barrier to asylum in the United States. This standard doesn’t guarantee the individual asylum, but merely allows entry into the United States until an asylum hearing is scheduled and heard.
As the President points out in his asylum proclamation, the standard for granting asylum to the United States is far higher than the evidence for initial entry into the country. Even individuals that have strong evidence to overcome the credible-fear-threshold can be denied asylum at a later date, and most people are denied.
The President’s asylum proclamation makes it more difficult, and nearly impossible, to claim asylum at the United States’ southern border. The timing of asylum claims are substantially restricted by the proclamation; this will greatly limit the allowed asylum claims from individuals from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and other Central American Countries. Even more substantial is the requirement that all claims must be made at a port of entry, places where migrants from these Central American countries are regularly turned away by Customs and Border Control.
What Happens Next for Asylum in the United States?
The future of asylum in the United States is at the center of many conversations and debates. Immigration lawyers across the United States are concerned for the refugees they represent and the hurdles ahead for future clients. Therefore, the simple answer is that the future of asylum and the possibility of refugees arriving in this country is hanging in the balance. And this is hardly the only immigration issue on the table.
Immigration policies and approaches in the United States are shifting quickly. There are substantial changes that a California immigration lawyer, those hoping to come to the United States, and every California residents must follow. The impact and changes to asylum are some of the most substantial and new, but the underlying policy around immigration has been changing consistently under the current Administration.
Want to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer about your asylum process or the immigration case of a loved one, contact our team at Greco Neyland. You can reach our LA office 24/7 by calling (213) 295-3500.
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