Effective July 16, immigrants who passed through another country prior to reaching Florida or other states are no longer eligible for asylum. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 5 to 40% of immigrants seeking asylum in the past decade have failed to pass the credible fear test. Research from Syracuse University also found that the number of asylum denials increased in 2017. Attorney General William Barr said that the new rule will decrease what he called “forum shopping” by economic migrants.
He also said that it is a burden to detain and process hundreds of thousands of migrants. The rule would apply to both adults and children who are traveling alone. Each month, thousands of individuals attempt to make the journey from their home countries in Central America to Mexico. From there, they attempt to cross into the United States and seek protection from the violence in their countries of origin.
An exception to the rule would likely be made for those who are the victims of human trafficking. According to a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union, however, the rule is unlawful. A representative of the Federation for American Immigration Reform said that it would help to end abuse of the asylum system in the United States, but a legal challenge to the rule could slow its implementation or enforcement.
Those who have a fear of persecution or other types of violence at home may be entitled to remain in the United States. An attorney may be able to represent a migrant during an asylum hearing or take other steps to maximize the chances of having an asylum request granted. Generally speaking, individuals who seek asylum may remain in the country until their cases are heard and decisions about their statues are made.