After the government announced policy toward immigration into the United States, it makes sense that those potentially facing deportation would explore all available avenues that could allow them to remain in the U.S. One of the options to receive relief from removal is to seek asylum.
Because asylum can offer many opportunities, it is an attractive option. However, the great number of asylum applications led to complaints that many of those seeking asylum had no legal grounds for doing so and that their claims were frivolous, wasting the time and resources of the government. The relationship between the zero-tolerance policy and asylum claims further complicates an immigration system already in dire straits.
The Trump Administration has said that if immigrants enter past the port of entry without permission, they are going to criminally prosecute them. As part of their Zero Tolerance Policy, these immigrants are going to jail, including every parent who came in across the border. With the Zero Tolerance Policy, came this policy of separating children from their parents. Part of that is based on an unconventional interpretation of a case out of San Diego called Flores Case, which said that children cannot be held or detained for more than 20 days.
Prior to implementation of the zero-tolerance policy, those without legal authority to enter the U.S. could often request asylum as a defense to deportation if they were caught crossing the border unlawfully. As a result of the zero-tolerance policy, the Department of Justice began prosecuting all adults captured for crossing into the U.S. without allowing exceptions for those seeking asylum.
In fact, immigration enforcement officials often argue that many asylum requests are fraudulent and made only to circumvent immigration requirements and policies. Therefore, unlike in the past where the government released those requesting asylum while their cases were pending, families seeking asylum were separated. Parents were placed in detention facilities and their children were housed in shelters operated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
To correct the problems with the current U.S. immigration system, it will be necessary to examine the relationship between the zero-tolerance policy and asylum claims. There are no easy answers, but a continuation of current policies seems likely to put further strain on immigration resources with questionable potential for improvement. For more information on immigration nuances, contact the Hacking Law Practice, LLC.