On July 15, the Trump administration upended U.S. immigration policy by declaring that migrants who pass through other countries to get to the southern border of the United States are no longer eligible to seek asylum. The move is designed to stop migrants from gaining entry into Arizona and other states along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Residents of border states like Arizona are likely paying particular attention to the Trump administration's ongoing efforts to stem the flow of immigrants from Central America. The courts have already thwarted the White House's efforts to limit asylum claims and deny petitions filed by individuals who crossed the border illegally. Most experts believe that a memorandum signed by the president on April 29 will lead to a new round of legal proceedings.
The fate of a new Trump administration policy that forces asylum seekers at the southern border to stay in Mexico until their hearings will be put to the test. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which covers Arizona and other states, will decide whether or not to halt the policy while a case impacted by the issue continues to go through the court system. A district court judge already decided that the policy was unlawful but gave the government time to appeal.
Asylum-seekers in Arizona whose bid for asylum has been rejected on the grounds that they did not establish that they had a "credible fear" of returning to their home country may be able to appeal their rejection before an immigration judge. On March 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that denying asylum-seekers this right violates non-citizens' constitutional rights.
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.