After the Trump administration’s family separation policies at the southern border provoked widespread outrage in Florida and around the world, parents who were denied asylum could have a second chance to make their case. This arrangement comes as part of an agreement reached between the Department of Justice and attorneys representing the families subjected to the separation policy. According to the text of the settlement submitted to a federal court for approval, up to 1,000 families may have the opportunity for a new asylum hearing.
These hearings represent the first stage of the asylum application process; applicants must show that they have a credible fear for their safety or lives if they are returned to their country of origin. Parents who failed that initial interview while they were separated from their children will have a new chance to make their arguments. According to the families’ lawyers, the settlement represents an important step toward protecting families’ rights to seek asylum in the future. They argued that the parents were unable to present their cases effectively due to the trauma and fear associated with enforced separation from their children. In the second interviews, immigration officials will need to consider the parents’ psychological state in their first asylum interviews.
In addition, lawyers noted that many parents were pushed rapidly through the process by immigration officials, especially those who did not have representation. Parents were reportedly not fully informed of their rights, and many signed away their own and potentially their children’s right to asylum in order to be reunited more quickly.
The changes to immigration law and enforcement being pursued by the Trump administration have raised concerns for people dealing with immigration officials and agencies themselves. An immigration lawyer may work with people to protect their rights to stay in the United States, particularly those seeking asylum amid this challenging climate.