Trump administration pushes to speed up migrant family asylum cases

Posted on 08/23/19

Rosita Lopez, a small business owner in Guatemala was threatened by gang members when they demanded payment. When they couldn’t make the payment, her partner was shot. Fearing they may lose their lives, they fled north to the United States. When she arrived at the US-Mexico border with her unborn eight month old and spouse, her life would change forever. Just a year later, a Los Angeles immigration judge ordered her deportation.”I’m afraid of going back there,” she told the judge.

The decision came fairly quickly in a system that usually takes years for an immigration judge to hear a case or even grant refuge in the United States. But her case is one of 56,000 that the Trump administration is trying to expedite through the process in more than ten cities across the country. Immigration lawyers who often complain that it takes too long to get a court date said the new timetable is too fast to prepare their clients to testify and get documents from foreign countries to bolster their claims. “The families that are all ready to go and desperate, ready with counsel, have survived multiple atrocities can’t seem to get before the judge, and others who seem to need time to getheir cases together, they’re pushing through without due process,” said Judy London, directing attorney of the immigrant rights’ project at Public Counsel.

This policy is one of many that the Trump administration plans on implementing to limit the amount of migrants traveling into the United States. Although this policy may expedite the process, officials state that it’s aim is to prevent migrant families from setting down roots in the United States while they wait for their asylum claim. This policy comes just months after federal courts will block any migrant asylum claim who passes through another country first. Immigrants can get permits to work legally in the United States once their asylum applications are pending before a judge for six months, which many with fast-tracked cases won’t get to do. The goal is to “disincentivize families — where an overwhelming majority of cases don’t qualify for relief, but instead end with removal orders — from making the treacherous journey to the United States,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement.

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