Florida residents who follow current events may be aware that several of President Trump's most controversial immigration policies have been challenged in the courts by advocacy organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and groups of immigrants from Central America who wish to petition for asylum in the United States. The White House has not fared well in these cases, and it suffered another setback on April 8 when a federal judge in California ruled that requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases were pending violated both federal law and the U.N. Convention on Refugees.
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.
Seeking asylum has been in the news in Florida and throughout the country for some time. Some people remain unaware that entering the U.S. to seek asylum is legal. People are allowed to present themselves to a border patrol agent and to ask for asylum. They are then interviewed, and if they meet the credible fear test, they are allowed to remain in the U.S. while their asylum cases are processed.
As part of a project sponsored by San Diego State University, volunteers wrote letters to asylum seekers detained by the United States government at a private detention center in Otay Mesa, California. In February 2019, the university released hundreds of letters written by the asylum seekers in response. The letters written by the detainees have been digitized and made available to the public online. Observers report that the letters serve to humanize the asylum seekers and, as a result, make the public more sympathetic to their plight and that of immigrants in Florida seeking to obtain permanent residency in the United States.
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.
People in Florida concerned about the effect of President Trump's attempt to impose restrictions on asylum claims may have been relieved to hear that the Supreme Court upheld a block placed by federal District Judge Jon Tigar on the regulations. However, the high court has not yet heard arguments on the merits of the administration's claim to have the right to modify established immigration law. Last month, Trump signed a proclamation seeking to bar people who entered the United States without authorization at the southern border from seeking asylum anywhere but an official port of entry.
Florida residents with questions about immigration may be interested in knowing that credible fear asylum claims have climbed considerably over the past year, according to figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Credible fear is the initial step toward claiming asylum, which is one of the ways immigrants are able to gain legal access to the country. Between 2017 and 2018, these claims climbed 67 percent.
Many people in Florida have been concerned about the effects of President Trump's policies on immigration, especially those with some involvement of their own with the immigration system. After two federal courts blocked an attempted ban on asylum applications for people who crossed the southern border without authorization, the administration is going to the Supreme Court in an attempt to legitimize its proclamation. Following the emergence of caravans of migrants from Central America in November 2018, Trump issued a proclamation barring people who crossed without authorization from seeking asylum.
Many people in Florida and across the country are concerned about asylum seekers facing new restrictions imposed by the Trump administration at the southern border. There are currently thousands of migrants, mostly from Central America, near the border in Tijuana and elsewhere, and the administration wants to force them to remain in Mexico until their asylum claims are completed. However, refugee rights advocates have highlighted the potential abuse that these migrants may face.
Florida residents may have seen news reports in the days leading up to the midterm elections about a caravan of immigrants from Central America making their way north to the Mexican border. The caravan has now reached Tijuana, and many of its approximately 3,000 members are said to be planning to seek asylum in the United States. Asylum has traditionally been offered to immigrants who are already inside the United States, but that all changed on Nov. 9 when President Trump issued a proclamation that changed the asylum rules.