The 2018 fiscal year for the United States government ended on Sept. 30. As of that date, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says credible fear asylum claims at the Mexico border increased 67 percent from the previous year. That translates to a total of 92,959 claims as opposed to just 55,584 a year prior. Furthermore, the number of credible fear claims as a percentage of all people stopped at the border increased to 18 percent from 13 percent a year earlier.
For people in Arizona who are affected by U.S. immigration law, President Donald Trump's policies have raised a great deal of concern. Political rhetoric has escalated on the issue of immigration, and many people are concerned that their own applications could be negatively impacted as a result. However, there has been a response in the courts; on Nov. 19, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration's attempt to refuse asylum to people who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without documentation.
Arizona residents have likely read reports about the migrant caravan that's currently making its way from Honduras to the United States. The migrants making this difficult trip say that they are fleeing violence and poverty in their home country and plan to seek asylum in America. The journey is necessary because the rules for asylum claims are strict and individuals must already be in the country or present themselves at a recognized port of entry to apply.
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.
Arizonans are likely familiar with the issues surrounding immigration. They might be interested in learning that the American Civil Liberties Union recently filed a lawsuit against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for allegedly detaining asylum seekers unfairly.
Residents in border states such as Arizona may have heard about a caravan that is looking to cross Mexico with hopes of eventually reaching the United States. According to organizers, there are roughly 200 people in that caravan, and their goal is to seek asylum once they reach the United States border. A representative from Pueblo Sin Fronteras said that this was more than twice as many as was expected.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is attempting to rewrite the rules regarding who gets asylum in the United States. He says that doing so could reduce the number of immigration cases. There are currently 600,000 such cases waiting to be heard, which is triple the number of cases that were pending in 2009. Many of these involve women and children who have traveled from Central America to the United States.
Arizona residents may be aware that individuals may try to enter the United States from Mexico seeking asylum. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, entry into the country through San Diego ports has been paused as they have reached capacity. Therefore, those who are seeking asylum may need to wait until others are processed before they can eventually gain entry there themselves.
People from other countries can apply for asylum in the U.S. when facing or fearing persecution in their own countries. This persecution might occur because of religion, race, political opinion, nationality or membership in a given social group. Once they are approved, they could live in Arizona or any other state.
Asylum seekers who try to enter the country legally in states like Arizona may find themselves endangered by legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in late June 2017. According to human rights advocates, "Kate's Law" raises the possibility that people seeking entry for their own safety might end up being prosecuted instead.