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Ninth Circuit rules denied asylum seekers have appeal rights

A recent ruling in the Ninth Circuit might give hope to asylum seekers in Florida and throughout the US. The ruling dealt with asylum seekers who are denied refugee status by Customs and Border Patrol agents who find that they do not meet the credible fear test.

The case involved a Tamil man from Sri Lanka who entered the US in 2017 and requested asylum. The man claimed to have been beaten and tortured for supporting a political candidate in his home country. The Tamil people are an ethnic minority in Sri Lanka. The CBP agent found that the man did not have a credible fear of returning to his country and denied his request for asylum.

The man found that he could not appeal the decision, and he filed a lawsuit in federal court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that denied asylum seekers who are found to not have a credible fear should be able to appeal the decision in the federal court system as a right under the Constitution. Denied asylum seekers in the Ninth Circuit will now be able to file appeals in the federal court. It is unclear whether the Department of Justice will appeal.

While this case does not currently affect Florida since the state is in a different jurisdiction, it is an important case to watch. If other circuits also find that asylum seekers should have the right to appeal denials based on credible fear, it might become a potential avenue for immigrants everywhere. People may benefit from consulting with experienced immigration law attorneys to learn about the possible options that they or their loved ones might have for legally immigrating to the US to live and work.

Source: USA Today, "Immigration asylum-seekers have a constitutional right to appeal, says court," Alan Gomez, March 7, 2019

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