Asylum Data Shows Approval Ratings at 20-Year Low

According to analysis of the data from the Department of Justice, the Trump administration’s immigration courts are approving asylum cases at record lows–approvals are at the lowest rate in almost twenty years.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a strict eye to immigration in the past year, continually pushing for more stringent decisions and the Trump administration hard-line “zero-tolerance policy.”

This past June, Sessions made a decision on a woman’s claim to asylum, ruling that claims of asylum made on the basis of nongovernmental domestic violence and gang violence would no longer be approved.

Sessions also reduced judges ability to suspend, continue, and administratively close cases.

According to experts, the Department of Justice data sheds light on the up-hill battle that asylum applicants, such as those at the Mexican border, will have to overcome.

Analyst Sarah Pierce of the Migration Policy Institute said, “Through a targeted and well-coordinated effort the Trump administration has significantly decreased the number of people who qualify for asylum.”

“While it is true that our asylum system is in need of major reforms,” Pierce continued, “the administration’s response has been to reverse years of case law dictating who are legitimate asylum seekers.”

The asylum data was released at the end of October.  The data showed a slim 33% asylum approval rate for the fiscal year of 2018.  In comparison, the Obama administration’s approval rating was between 44% and 55%.  The last time in United States history when the approval rate was lower than 33% was in 1999, in the Bill Clinton administration.

This percentage is startling when the Trump administration is in the midst of processing more asylum cases than many years past.

While 14,000 asylum cases were approved, considering the increased volume of those claiming asylum, this seemingly large number of approvals is small in comparison.

The data does not include asylum cases being processed by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).

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