New memo redefines asylum processing

On July 11, the USCIS released a new memo updating what asylum applicants must demonstrate to show they are members of a persecuted class.  The gist is that there are fewer people that will be able to seek asylum based on their fear of being persecuted upon their return to their home country.

Social groups are more distinctly defined, and whether someone will be able to seek asylum based on their fear of return will be deferred to immigration enforcement officials instead of immigration judges.

How to handle these claims presents one of the more challenging and divisive Type 1/Type 2 errors our country faces.

The first error is providing asylum to people that don’t need it.  The second is sending people home to their death or worse when they actually need asylum.  The new attorney general is more willing to make the second type of error.

I handled an asylum case recently, and these determinations are incredibly difficult for the judges to make.  They have limited information, and with the overwhelming amount of cases, limited time.  Coyotes are aware of these rules and will inform their charges that they should make these claims should they be apprehended, which dilutes the large number of legitimate claims.  This decision will likely result in lower administrative costs, but higher costs to human lives.  I don’t envy the decision makers on these matters.

If you have an issue like this and have questions or need help, contact me right away.

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