Florida is home to many immigrants, and some of them achieved legal status because the United States granted them asylum. Asylum allows people whose lives are at risk in their home countries to find sanctuary, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to reduce the ability of people to gain asylum. In addition to urging Congress to tighten the laws, Sessions has exercised his authority over immigration courts and vacated a ruling that would have set a precedent about people’s rights to appear before a judge before the government can reject their applications.
In the view of the Attorney General, the backlog of 600,000 asylum cases arises from rampant fraud on the part of applicants. His speeches have referred to people gaming the system and overloading the immigration courts with fake claims. A fellow from the Center for Immigration studies expressed agreement with this view and said that people use claims of domestic abuse and gang violence as catchall reasons for asylum.
Asylum claims have tripled since 2009, but some people dispute allegations about fraudulent claims. A law school professor said that out-of-control gang violence in Central America has forced people north looking for refuge. The secretary of the American Immigration Lawyers Association called tightening rules to prevent vulnerable victims from finding safety a moral outrage.
A person arriving in the country who fears death at home and expects no help from the homeland’s government might have a chance to gain asylum. An attorney may be able to evaluate the person’s case and offer an opinion about the likelihood of meeting asylum requirements. To move forward, an attorney might organize documentation of the threats and prepare the application for immigration authorities. Legal representation might guide the person through the system and push back against attempts to sidestep the person’s rights and deny an application.