Changes implemented by the Trump administration on the political asylum process
Political asylum has always been an option for thousands of immigrants fleeing persecution or danger and coming to the US to seek international protection, yearning to build a promising future for their families.
According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, for its acronym in English), immigrants can apply for asylum by demonstrating that they have been victims of persecution, either because of their race, political opinion, sexual orientation, religion, inter alia. Apart from that, they also can opt for this program if they are fleeing domestic violence or abuse.
However, the political asylum process has faced multiple transformations in recent years due to the stance of the Trump administration when it comes to immigration. President Trump states that immigrants tend to use public benefits disproportionately and that, many of them, apply for political asylum after crossing borders without legal documentation, which is a violation of local law.
Thus, since President Trump took office in 2017, multiple changes have been implemented in the political asylum process. To give a specific example, the governments of Mexico and the US signed an agreement in early 2019 called the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), also known as “Remain in Mexico”.
What is the MPP?
Broadly speaking, this policy states that asylum seekers must remain in Mexico while awaiting a response to their immigration applications. Clearly, because they are fleeing danger, they do not always have personal belongings and the vast majority currently live in temporary shelters on the borders of Mexico, without constant access to:
- Food or water.
- Health care.
- Bathrooms in adequate hygiene conditions.
On top of that, the global Coronavirus pandemic exacerbated the situation for asylum seekers.
Now, the Trump administration plans to increase restrictions on asylum applications.
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Trump administration proposes to cut the deadline to just 15 days
Normally, most asylum seekers have one year, after attending the first hearing in a local court, to apply for international protection through the political asylum program.
They use this time to organize evidence to support their requests, translate official documents, seek legal advice, and present a solid case.
However, the Trump administration, through the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on September 23, 2020, which states that the deadline for requesting political asylum will change from one year to 15 days after the first hearing.
These federal entities argue that “Aliens (foreigners) in such proceedings are generally already subject to removal orders, denials of applications for admission, or denials of permission to land in the case of crewmembers, and are often also detained” and, therefore, they should not have the possibility of residing in the country for a year when their applications might be rejected.
Keep in mind
It is important to clarify that this rule has not yet come into effect, it is still subject to extensive review and the public has the opportunity to submit comments before October 23, 2020.
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If this rule is approved, what are the options for asylum seekers?
Due to the abrupt change that this rule would represent if it becomes effective, there are two main recommendations:
- Asylum seekers should have the corresponding documentation and evidence when submitting the immigration application. By this, we mean that immigrants must try to arrive in the US with the necessary documentation and not wait until the first hearing to start organizing the immigration application.
- Seek reliable help from experts in immigration matters as soon as possible. Having the constant accompaniment of experts becomes essential during these times of crisis.
Do you need help with your immigration case?
Motion Law’s team of experts has helped many people in the same situation as you and will gladly guide you through your immigration journey in the US.
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