Asylum Claims Spike Despite Attempts to Limit Immigration
February 19, 2019
Statistics released by the Department of Homeland Security show that the number of asylum seekers entering the country citing a “credible fear” is up 70 percent from 2017. A credible fear claim involves being afraid to return home due to an expectation of being targeted for violence because of race, religion, nationality, political opinions, or social group.
The system to date has shielded migrants who claim a credible fear from deportation. An asylum officer interviews the immigrant, and based on the assertion of credible fear, assigns a court date to determine eligibility and releases the asylum seeker from custody.
There has been no distinction between someone entering at an official port of entry or otherwise.
Mass Migration Poses Logistical Problems
Problems from mass migration are most obvious at the southwestern border with Mexico. Immigrants from Central American nations are trekking across Mexico to reach the United States.
According to the Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection, the number of people arriving at the border is straining border security, immigration enforcement, the courts, and other resources. He says most of the credible fear claims will ultimately be unsuccessful, further suggesting that Congress needs to act to modernize the process.
Other Department of Homeland Security officials also describe the processing system as antiquated. They say it is not designed to handle large numbers of people at a time, nor is it designed to accommodate families.
Efforts to Address Migration
A series of efforts by the Trump Administration have been implemented to stem the tide. Former Attorney General Sessions severely limited the ability to cite domestic abuse or gang violence as a basis for credible fear claims. In justifying that position he stated, “the asylum statute does not provide redress for all misfortune.”
Official ports of entry also limit the number of people who can enter legally. The practice, called metering, involves Customs and Border Protection officers only processing a small number of people each day. Typically, less than 100 immigrants are processed per day at each entry point.
Metering has likely contributed to a buildup of migrants waiting on the Mexican side of the border. It may also be contributing to the number of people attempting to cross the border illegally, rather than at official ports of entry.
New rules have been adopted to minimize illegal entry by allowing government officials to deny asylum to almost all immigrants entering illegally. The broad national security powers designed to protect the country from threats from abroad are being cited as the legal basis for the rule.
However, the rules appear contrary to the plain language of the Immigration and Nationalization Act and are under appeal.
Philadelphia Asylum Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Represent Asylum Seekers
The law regarding immigration is in flux. Our office strives to keep current on all aspects of immigration law. If you need assistance in seeking asylum contact one of the experienced Philadelphia asylum lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC We look forward to providing you with skilled representation in seeking asylum or other immigration related matters. Contact us at 215-496-0690 or complete an online form for a free consultation. Members of our staff speak Spanish, several dialects of Filipino, and Korean. From our Philadelphia offices we assist clients in Pennsylvania, the tri-state area, New Jersey, and nationally.