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Trump Orders Changes to the Asylum Process

On April 29, 2019, the Trump Administration issued new guidelines that both complicate and accelerate the legal asylum process. The secretaries of the Homeland Security and Justice departments have 90 days to implement these policies:

  • Asylum applications need to be adjudicated within 180 days of filing.
  • Work authorization will be stripped from any migrants who are denied asylum or have a final order of removal.
  • There will be a mandatory fee for all asylum applications.
  • There will be a filing fee for initial applications for asylum-applicant work authorization.
  • Migrants who entered the U.S. illegally are barred from receiving work authorization while their applications are pending.

There is speculation that the White House wants to implement regulations that would place asylum-seekers who pass this interview into asylum-only proceedings, preventing them from accessing other forms of relief. The first step in most asylum cases is the credible-fear or reasonable-fear interview process (CFI or RFI). During this interview, an asylum-seeker needs to demonstrate that they have a credible fear of returning to their home country. Under current rules, certain asylum seekers subject to a prior order of removal are ineligible for asylum and can only seek Withholding of Removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture through a RFI. Those who pass the CFI are placed into normal removal proceedings, where they can seek relief other than asylum if eligible. Those who pass the RFI are placed into “asylum-only” proceedings, where they are ineligible for any other relief.

Military Presence at the Border

This proposal is the president’s latest attempt to legally modify the immigration landscape without seeking congressional action. According to Ted Hesson and Wesley Morgan of Politico, these “measures – framed as a response to a surge of immigrants at the southwest border – would represent a further escalation of Trump’s hard-line immigration agenda.” They also note that “Trump regularly portrays immigrants arriving at the border as criminals and declared a national emergency in February to access roughly $6.7 billion for a border wall. The president said in the memo issued Monday that the latest measures would ‘strengthen asylum procedures to safeguard our system against rampant abuse.’”

President Trump isn’t just making administrative changes to the asylum process; he’s also sending more troops to enforce the U.S.-Mexico border. Before the memo was released, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced that he was sending 320 more troops to help Customs and Border Protection agents. According to the Politico article, this new deployment brings “the total number of active-duty military personnel to just over 3,200.”

What’s equally concerning for many refugees is that ICE is also deploying more officers to the border to investigate human smuggling operations and prevent “fake families” from entering the country with fraudulent documents.

Protect Your Rights Today

Asylum-seekers are granted certain legal protections under the Refugee Act of 1980 and the 1967 United Nations Protocol on Refugees. If you require legal representation, contact the Daytona Beach immigration lawyers at David F. Vedder, P.A. today. Our experienced litigators have a comprehensive understanding of the fluctuating laws and policies that characterize this challenging legal field. No matter the complexity of your case, you can trust that our team has the skills and resources to represent your interests.

Contact David F. Vedder, P.A. at (386) 968-8880 to schedule a consultation today.

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