Arizona residents are likely aware that several thousand migrants from Central America are gathered in Tijuana, Mexico, and plan to apply for asylum in the United States. Many of these migrants have tried to cross the border illegally at the San Ysidro port of entry, which has prompted the Trump administration to change the way asylum claims are processed. Department of Homeland Security officials have announced that asylum-seekers apprehended in the United States will now be returned to Mexico to wait until their petitions are reviewed.

Prior to the Jan. 25 implementation of the new rule, asylum-seekers were permitted to remain in America while their petitions were pending provided that they were able to pass what is known as a credible fear interview. The Trump administration’s decision may have been influenced by a 2015 federal court decision that set the maximum detention period for immigrant families with children at 20 days.

Administration officials claim that the decision along with lax border security has prompted the recent wave of immigrant caravans from poor countries like Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. A previous attempt to address the problem known as the zero tolerance policy was abandoned following a backlash. The public reacted angrily when it was revealed that migrant children were being separated from their parents at the Mexican border and placed in immigrant detention facilities.

People who are seeking a new life in America face several hurdles, and those fleeing violence or desperate poverty may be disheartened by the bureaucracy and waiting times involved. Attorneys with U.S. immigration law experience could understand these concerns, and they could help clients to avoid unnecessary delays by ensuring that their paperwork is completed properly and supported by relevant documents.

Source: NBC News, “DHS plans to begin turning asylum-seekers back to Mexico to await court dates”, Julia Ainsley, Jan. 24, 2019