Florida residents may be aware that the Trump administration is engaged in a contentious legal battle with civil rights groups over its ‘Remain in Mexico” policy. The policy requires asylum seekers from Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua to wait in Mexico until their claims can be heard. Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union say the policy violates international treaties and U.S. law, but the courts have so far backed the president.
There are currently about 2,400 asylum seekers waiting in the Mexican city of Juarez for their claims to be heard. Some of them have been told that they will not be able to appear before a judge until June 2020. When the controversial policy was announced in January, Department of Homeland Security officials said that immigrants would receive dates for their first court appearances after about 45 days. Media reports claim that only one judge is presently hearing these cases.
The situation is made more difficult for migrants because the Mexican government has issued them with tourist visas to allow them to remain in the country while they wait. In a Jan. 25 memorandum, the Department of Homeland Security said that they would be able to apply for work permits. There is also increasing resentment from the residents of border cities like Juarez toward growing migrant communities, and violent clashes between locals and asylum seekers are becoming worryingly common.
Those hoping to be granted asylum in the United States must be able to convince an immigration judge that they would face danger if they returned home because of their race, religion, national origin, or political opinions. These claims are difficult to prove and must be backed up with evidence. Attorneys with experience in this area could help asylum seekers to gather the kind of documents that immigration judges tend to find compelling, and they could also explain the other paths to a new life in America available to those who are denied asylum.
Source: Buzzfeed, “They Were Told 45 Days. Now Asylum-Seekers Are Being Forced To Wait Up To A Year In Mexico.”, Adolfo Flores, May 21, 2019