AP This development is designed to stop immigrant families from “walking across the southern border to ask for asylum.” Trump administration officials also hope to ultimately establish rule that U.S. does not want asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico before being deported back to their home countries.
The Trump administration is adopting new standards for asylum-seekers who are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, in a move that has broad-based impact on asylum seekers and the flow of people into the United States.
Previously, migrants at the border had the option of voluntarily withdrawing their application for asylum and accepting a voluntary repatriation to their home countries or choosing to remain in the United States and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would arrange to return them to their country of origin.
Trump administration officials maintain the new policy will halt the alarming increases in undocumented border-crossers over the past three years, but experts say the policy will likely increase the cost of immigration court proceedings, restrict legal appeals and discourage asylum-seekers from seeking protections at the border.
Under the new U.S. policy, asylum-seekers will no longer be able to walk across the southern border to ask for asylum. They will be removed back to their home countries with little encouragement from U.S. officials who will likely deny them resettlement, say immigration experts who have seen the policy on paper.
“What we will see is that the system won’t help these people anymore,” said Eric A. Ziering, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.
“And if they’re not going to help them, the government will expect them to leave.”
DHS announced the policy in an email Thursday afternoon. Since it does not apply to all who cross the border — some people with gang affiliations or other criminal backgrounds are exempt — it is designed to stop immigrant families from “walking across the southern border to ask for asylum,” according to the press release sent by DHS.
“Family unit migration into the United States has significantly increased in recent years,” according to the email sent by DHS acting Secretary Elaine Duke. “While this is the right policy to protect the interest of the United States, it does create a gap in U.S. law that must be addressed.”
DHS official Stephanie O’Sullivan released a more detailed statement that made it clear the new policy does not change the standards for deportation.
“Asylum seekers must either withdraw their case with the assistance of an immigration judge or have their case fully and expeditiously adjudicated. In neither of these instances does the United States reduce the number of claims that are granted or deny the claims from which we are able to determine validity,” according to O’Sullivan.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said the new policy will start on Aug. 1.
According to the email released by DHS, if an asylum-seeker chooses the voluntary return option, DHS will transfer the asylum-seeker to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody and certify that the person does not face death or persecution in their home country.
“Because of the extreme risks associated with illegal entry and the record backlogs in our immigration courts, the United States will not accept voluntary departures where aliens will present themselves without family or will fail to cite a country of nationality for protection,” according to the email.
Experts say that even if someone desires to remain in the United States, DHS can only give a three-week extension in the appeal process for any type of immigration case.
That means that an immigrant who has filed for asylum, says he is entitled to protection and wants to ask DHS for an extension of three months will be issued an appeal form by the Department of Justice, submit it, and expect it to take at least another two weeks to be reviewed.
A DHS spokesman said that at most detention facilities in South Texas and the Phoenix area, families without criminal backgrounds are moved quickly to the end of the two-month extension in their appeal process, but this would likely take longer in other locations.
“I have confidence in our ICE officers and officers of U.S. Attorneys to adjudicate all asylum cases promptly and in a fair manner,” according to O’Sullivan.
On Oct. 7, 2018, another letter from Duke outlining the new policy reads, “These decisions are being final adjudicated through U.S. courts or would be if the appropriate judges receive notification of the determination to not offer asylum.”
According to DHS, DHS’ new move may speed up the deportation process and returns the power over