St. Louis Immigration Attorney Jim Hacking Discusses the Skyrocketing Number of Asylum Applications

The number of applications for asylum by immigrants is at a record high since two decades ago. According to new data released by the Congressional Research Service, at least 36,026 immigrants have claimed a credible fear of persecution if they return to their home country. However, critics of immigration believe these claims are false and it is only a way to remain in the U.S. without having to return to their countries of origin.

Asylum process has steep requirements

The point of offering the option of applying for asylum is if remaining in the U.S. is safer than going back to the country of origin where the immigrant is put in harm’s way. Those applying for asylum have to be within U.S. borders when doing so, but that does not guarantee parole.

They may end up in the detention system while waiting for their asylum cases to be heard if they do not follow the process accordingly. Immigrants undergo a criminal background check to begin the process. If their claim is denied, the applicant can be deported immediately. If they are approved, applicants will have to provide evidence for why they have a “much higher standard than credible fear.”

Critics call on abusers of system

According to a House Judiciary Committee discussion last week, some lawmakers implied that the sudden rise in asylum claims is because of immigrants abusing the asylum system. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) claims that the drug cartels are one of the most common fear claims on asylum applications. He stated, “These credible-fear claimants almost always get approved and are released into our communities … when their asylum claims are ultimately denied, they simply add to the fugitive population in the U.S.”

Statistically, most applicants are not approved and officials mainly process requests from Mexican citizens-about 91 percent of those are denied. The new report does not provide a reason for the spike in asylum applicants, but the increase in credible fear claims “alone does not signify an abuse of the claims.” A double-amputee recently biked over 670 miles as a way to prove that most immigrants “are not abusing the system” after drug cartel members chopped both of Carlos Gutierrez’s feet off. This recent claim is yet another reason the immigration system needs to have their policies clarified so that those who want to honestly utilize the U.S.’s help can do so.

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