In a new memorandum sent to the U.S. attorney general and acting homeland security secretary, the Trump Administration ordered an overhaul to the asylum system that would include a fee for migrants seeking protection in Florida and other states. The administration claims that the current system is being abused by a surge of migrants who are overwhelming federal resources. Authorities have been given 90 days to find a solution that processes all applications within 180 days of filing.
Representatives from the Department of Homeland Security were unable to answer questions about how much asylum seekers would have to pay for applications or the percentage of migrants who would be able to make such a payment. They did say that the cost would not exceed the price of processing the applications. This new policy proposal comes after the recent proposal to force asylum seekers to stay on the Mexican side of the border until their hearings.
Critics of Trump’s asylum policies, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, commented that asylum is a fundamental right that should not be violated. Arrests along the southern border of the U.S. have reached a 12-year high with more than 100,000 arrests in March of 2019. Frustration over this issue from the Trump administration caused the former homeland security secretary to resign in early April.
Migrants who are seeking asylum in the United States can face a difficult legal process. However, assistance from a lawyer could make the process easier. Individuals and families can apply for asylum directly through the U.S. Asylum Office or use asylum as a defense in a deportation hearing. Many immigration lawyers will offer a consultation so clients can find out what their options are.