Arizona might be one destination for a caravan of more than 7,000 people from Central America who are traveling toward the U.S. border. Although many of these immigrants may plan to apply for asylum and expect to be accepted, experts say that acceptance is unlikely.
This is the largest known caravan to travel to the border. In April, 1,500 people from Central America reached the border, but just 250 are currently still in the country. Asylum has been granted to just three of them. Around the same time that caravan arrived, the policy of family separation began. This has been modified to give parents a choice between remaining in detention with their children or having their children released while they remain in detention. This appears to be unlikely to deter asylum seekers.
Another obstacle they face is the rollback of protections for people fleeing from domestic violence, gang violence or drug smuggling. Instead, they will need to prove that they face persecution because of nationality, religion, political beliefs or race. Asylum seekers are required to prove they have what is called a "credible fear" of returning to their home countries. The whole process can take years.
People who wish to seek asylum or have loved ones who wish to seek asylum may want to obtain legal counsel. Applying for asylum is always a complex process, and with laws changing rapidly, it can now be even more confusing. An attorney could assist in navigating these rules and completing paperwork. Legal counsel might also be able to answer a person's questions about the timeline for the process.