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    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    ‘Nobody knows what this means': Trump’s new asylum restrictions bring confusion to Sa

    ‘Nobody knows what this means': Trump’s new asylum restrictions bring confusion to San Diego

    By GUSTAVO SOLIS, WENDY FRY
    SEP. 12, 2019 5:38 PM

    A wave of confusion swept through Tijuana Thursday as thousands of migrants nervously waited to request asylum in the United States, one day after the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to enforce a new policy that will drastically reduce the number of people eligible to cross.

    That policy will deny asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the U.S. without seeking protection in that country. It essentially disqualifies any non-Mexican migrant from asylum.

    A record number of Central American families have sought asylum in the United States during the past year, and most have been released to await court hearings, thwarting the administration’s efforts to curb a new wave of migrants. The Justice Department says more than 436,000 pending cases include an asylum application.

    The Trump administration rolled out its asylum policy in July, but a federal judge in San Francisco blocked it from taking effect because of a lawsuit over the legality of the policy. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court decided it could be enforced while the lower court case continues.

    Jessica Collins, a spokesperson for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the policy will be retroactive to July 16, the date it was first announced. That means that people who entered the U.S. before July 16 shouldn’t be impacted by the policy.

    However, there are tens of thousands of asylum seekers who arrived to Tijuana and Mexicali before July 16 but have not had a chance to enter the U.S. because immigration officials accept only a small number of people each day.

    Migrants and immigration attorneys spent Thursday trying to figure out what the ruling means for the migrants who had already spent four or five months waiting in Mexico to enter the United States.

    “Nobody knows what this means,” said lawyer Andrew Nietor. “Are they still in line to request asylum? Does this mean they will be waiting for months to go to the border only to be told they aren’t eligible? It could potentially mean that it was all for nothing.”

    Even people who have already entered the United States but were returned to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols program, or Remain in Mexico, do not know where they fit in. More than 45,000 people have been sent back to Mexico under Remain in Mexico, which forces people to wait for immigration court hearings in Mexico.

    Jorge Ortiz, a migrant from Guatemala who has been waiting for a court hearing in Tijuana for three-and-a-half months, is due in court on Sept. 18, just days from now.

    Ortiz is unsure if he has to also apply for asylum in Mexico.

    “It’s not fair if I only have six days to figure this out and apply for something else in Mexico,” he said. “It’s confusing because we don’t know if it’s going to apply to us who are already in the immigration system in San Diego.”

    Part of Thursday’s confusion stems from the lack of direction from the federal government. The Trump administration has not released guidelines explaining how the asylum policy will be implemented.

    Immigration officials in San Diego said Thursday that they haven’t received guidance yet and are not sure which federal agency is tasked with implementation.

    “We don’t have it yet,” said Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison of the Border Patrol. “We just don’t have any answers today on that. But, as soon as we have some information we can share, we will let you know.”

    Local immigration lawyers are particularly concerned about who will be responsible for establishing eligibility.

    Normally, migrants requesting asylum must pass an initial screening called a credible fear interview to establish that they will be persecuted if they are forced to return to their home. Those interviews are conducted by asylum officers who undergo legal training.

    Lawyers are worried about the possibility of having border patrol agents, who do not receive the same level of training, conduct those interviews.

    “I am definitely concerned about anyone other than asylum officers doing those interviews,” said immigration attorney Ginger Jacobs.

    News of the Supreme Court’s decision was not well received in Mexico Thursday. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard criticized U.S. immigration policy.

    “The United States has a very hard-line immigration policy,” he said. “The court’s decision is astonishing in the impact that it is going to have.”

    Lawyers noted that asylum seekers south of the border who are now ineligible for asylum could still be eligible for other protections that would allow them to enter the United States.

    For example, a “withholding of removal” is a special order issued by an immigration judge to someone who proves that they have a more-likely-than-not chance of being persecuted in their home country. That order protects a person from being deported to the country where they fear persecution.

    Another benefit is relief under the Convention against Torture. This is for migrants who prove a more-likely-than-not chance of being persecuted by the government in their country of origin.

    However, compared to asylum, both of those immigration benefits are much harder to receive and offer less protections to migrants.

    “That’s great and all, but those two forms of relief don’t give someone the stability and peace of mind that comes with other protections,” said immigration attorney Tammy Lin.

    For example, Lin said, asylum offers people a path to permanent residency and citizenship while the other two options do not.

    Additionally, those forms of immigration relief are difficult to win and someone without an attorney may not even know that they are available. There is a significant lack of attorneys for asylum seekers in Mexico waiting to enter the United States.

    “The people I’m more concerned about are the people who don’t have a lawyer at all,” said Jacobs.

    Coupled with the Remain in Mexico program, this new policy could likely have drastic consequences for vulnerable populations fleeing crime and persecution, lawyers said.

    “This is a very significant decision of the Supreme Court because it is going to have far-ranging implications for refugees and asylum seekers, and it has the potential to really turn the entire asylum process on its head,” Neitor said.

    https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com...n-to-san-diego
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    It means...get on a bus and go home!

    Overbreeding in poverty is not "asylum".

    They can RELOCATE within their own counties.

    DENY THEM ALL ASYLUM!

    LET THEIR PRESIDENT "PROTECT" THEM! THEY ARE NOT OUR RESPONSIBILITY.
    TO BECOME AN AMERICAN YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR VALUES ...NOT YOUR LOCATION

    STAY HOME AND BUILD AMERICA ON YOUR SOIL

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