The political asylum process under the Donald Trump administration
The current administration of the US, led by President Donald Trump, has always proposed to implement a merit-based immigration system, rather than humanitarian alternatives such as political asylum and refuge or immigration based on family ties.
Speaking specifically about political asylum, immigrants fleeing persecution, violence, or war now have to meet more requirements to apply for international protection in the US because, over the past four years, the Trump administration narrowed alternatives available to them and substantially increased restrictions on the political asylum process.
Some of the policies implemented by the Trump administration:
- Force asylum seekers to remain in temporary shelters in Mexico while they await responses to their immigration applications, where there are no job opportunities and, in many cases, without basic resources to survive. This policy is formally called the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP).
- Narrow alternatives for the most vulnerable immigrant communities to be eligible and admissible under the premise of political asylum.
- Make it difficult for asylum seekers to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This restriction applies for those residing within the US while awaiting responses to their immigration applications.
- Increase requirements to apply for political asylum, which disproportionately lengthens waiting times.
However, the political asylum process is about to change again as Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, won the November 2020 election. The Biden administration plans to reverse Trump’s restrictive policies and improve the immigration system, starting with the most vulnerable immigrant communities such as asylum seekers.
Four steps Biden should take to improve the political asylum process
According to a recent report by The Hill, the incoming government must address four essential issues in order to improve the political asylum process and protect immigrants in need of international assistance.
1. Expedite immigration processes
Currently, there are more than a million pending immigration cases due to delays caused by the health crisis and restrictions from the Trump administration and previous administrations.
The Biden government must improve the immigration system to reduce waiting times and the backlog of immigration cases, mainly asylum applications. In fact, the president-elect promised to hire more asylum officers to improve this process and offer international protection to those who need it most.
2. End the detention of asylum seekers
Under the last administrations, it has been common to detain asylum seekers on the premise of immigration guideline violation. However, “Detaining asylum seekers without just cause is prohibited under international law” and local law states that people fleeing persecution and danger have the right to request political asylum anywhere in the US.
Thus, the incoming government must adopt another strategy to possibly monitor asylum seekers remotely while they attend a hearing and receive a response to their immigration applications.
3. Offer legal representation
The incoming government should offer legal representation to asylum seekers who cannot afford an immigration attorney on their own. The immigration system is quite complex and it could be difficult for asylum seekers to go through the process without legal representation.
However, it is also important to clarify that there are affordable immigration services that offer reliable help for your particular process. Contact Motion Law today and schedule your free consultation.
4. Remove restrictions on the political asylum program
During his term, President Trump implemented multiple restrictions on the political asylum process, which increased the eligibility requirements to apply for asylum in the US. Therefore, due to these restrictions, asylum officers have denied applications from victims of domestic violence, minors kidnapped by gangs, and victims of military agencies or government entities.
The Biden administration must lift Trump’s restrictions and improve the political asylum process to offer international protection to people fleeing persecution of any kind, including domestic violence and abuse by government entities.
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