Florida residents may be aware of a shift in policy that would see the United States keep its asylum seekers in Mexico while their cases are being heard. There are currently more than 800,000 cases pending, and the new policy could mean that immigrants will live in Mexico for months or years. Immigration judges are also left wondering how the policy will impact how they hear cases.
Typically, someone who is seeking asylum after entering the country will be released and assigned to a nearby court. It is unclear if those who are in Mexico will have their cases heard at border courts. This could result in judges having to move closer to the border to handle the majority of their cases. A representative from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services claimed that the agency didn't know that there was a change of policy until after it was announced.
That representative was an agent in charge of performing credible fear reviews. Those reviews are the first step in the asylum process. Furthermore, the Mexican government claims that it doesn't know the full details regarding the proposal to return asylum seekers to the country. However, it did say that many border states lacked financial and other resources necessary to provide for those who would be staying there. Mexican authorities also said that they weren't sure if it could keep migrants safe.
Individuals who are applying for asylum in the U.S. may be allowed to remain in the country while their cases are being heard. However, they must generally show a credible fear of persecution or other harm to be granted a court date. An attorney may be able to prepare an asylum applicant for a credible fear review or a court hearing. Adequate preparation could help maximize the chances for a favorable outcome.