Depending on the facts of a given case, an individual may file either an affirmative or defensive asylum application. An affirmative asylum case begins by filing Form I-589, and after the form is received, an individual will be interviewed by an asylum officer. To file this form, an individual must have been in Florida or anywhere else in the United States within a year of doing so.
As a general rule, federal laws take steps to keep parents and children together whenever possible. However, this is not always the case when it comes to those who are seeking asylum in Florida or elsewhere in the United States. According to Amnesty International USA, authorities within the country should stop separating parents from children during this process. Failure to do so would be a violation of human rights in the group's opinion.
For some Florida residents, emigration from Central America is a frequent topic of discussion. The iron gate at the border between Mexico and the United States is often the site of excessive wait times for those seeking asylum. Asylum seekers come to the U.S. border from throughout Central America for a variety of reasons. Many of them face domestic abuse or persecution in their home countries serious enough that they are willing to endure an arduous journey north. At the end of that journey, they may face wait times stretching on for days.
The stories of some immigrants who come to Florida include terror, like the plight of a Honduran mother of two who fled domestic abuse and gang violence in her home country. She braved the 3,000-mile trek to the U.S. border after gang members threatened to kill her 6-year-old son if she did not tell them where her husband was.
Florida residents may be aware that President Trump took to Twitter recently to vent his ire about what is described as a caravan of at least 200 immigrants from Central America that is currently passing through Mexico on its way to the United States. The immigrants are fleeing violence and unrest in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and plan to seek asylum when they reach the U.S. border. Reports indicate that the caravan reached Mexico City on April 9 and its numbers have swelled considerably.
Florida is home to many immigrants, and some of them achieved legal status because the United States granted them asylum. Asylum allows people whose lives are at risk in their home countries to find sanctuary, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to reduce the ability of people to gain asylum. In addition to urging Congress to tighten the laws, Sessions has exercised his authority over immigration courts and vacated a ruling that would have set a precedent about people's rights to appear before a judge before the government can reject their applications.
While some people immigrate to Florida for jobs or to join a spouse, others are fleeing dangerous conditions in their home countries. These conditions may include war, political persecution or social violence. Asylum-seekers often have to navigate a complex maze of laws and regulations.
When Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Florida arrested a Venezuelan man during an asylum hearing in April 2017, Sen. Marco Rubio intervened to secure his release. The case drew widespread media attention because individuals being taken into custody at courthouses and immigration was rare, but this kind of arrest has now become worryingly common according to immigrant advocacy groups.
Florida residents are likely aware that individuals who enter the United States illegally face criminal prosecution, imprisonment and deportation, but they may not know that different rules apply when immigrants fear returning to their home countries. In these situations, immigrants are supposed to be referred to an asylum offer to determine whether their fears are legitimate, but a nonprofit human rights organization claims that this rule has been routinely flouted under the Donald Trump administration.
Florida residents may not be surprised to learn that the number of refugees admitted to the United States plummeted during the first year of President Trump's administration. Trump vowed to tighten border controls and closely scrutinize those seeking entry into the country during a contentious election campaign, and figures from the Department of State indicate that the policies he put into place led to fewer refugees being admitted in 2017 than in any year since this data was first made available in 2002.