So much for immigration reform. It has been nearly two years since the Obama administration began its aggressive strategy of rounding up and deporting immigrants deemed to be illegally present in the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reported a plan to begin an aggressive nationwide surge in these efforts over the next thirty days. This surge will focus on mothers and children who have already been told to leave the United States. The operation will also target minors who entered the country without a guardian and are now 18 years old. According to the Obama administration, this is consistent with their enforcement priorities, which include not just criminal aliens but also recent border crossers.
However, the vast majority of those recent entrants is fleeing horrendous and dangerous conditions in their home countries and are merely seeking asylum in the United States to avoid being kidnapped or murdered. As asylum seekers, more than 90% have "passed" the credible fear interview administered by Federal authorities. A credible fear determination is the first step toward establishing the "well-founded fear" that is required to actually obtain asylum in the U.S.
Resources were strained in 2014 under a wave of illegal migrants crossing the U.S. - Mexico border. Most were women and children fleeing violence in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. El Salvador and Honduras have both been designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). However, in order to receive TPS from Honduras the individual must have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since January 5, 1999. That is of little help to individuals who are fleeing current waves of violence in their home country.
It is believed that this planned surge is in response to a significant increase in apprehensions of illegal border crossers during the fourth quarter of 2015 and first quarter of 2016. The idea, according to one administration source, is an effort to deter illegal border crossers.
Ben Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recently said: "AILA urges President Obama to ensure that due process is upheld and that the rights of vulnerable families who are seeking asylum are protected. The processing of individuals who arrive at America's borders seeking a safe haven can be done in a way that is orderly and efficient, as well as fair and humane. Our government cannot in good conscience send people back to the extreme violence wreaking havoc in Central America."
At Miley & Brown, we strive to provide current immigration information and to push for humane immigration outcomes. We can all help. Visit our web site http://www.mileybrown.com where you can contact Congress and President Obama to tell them that you want fair and humane treatment for asylum seekers. Every voice matters.