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Asylum Status May Soon Become Much More Difficult to Obtain

Milla & Associates, LLC

Over the last 4 years, the Trump administration has significantly curbed immigration, attacking the asylum process in particular. But obtaining asylum status in the U.S. may soon become even more difficult than before.

Expected to publish by June 15th, a new proposal released by the Department of Homeland Security and Justice will make several changes to the asylum process, creating more challenges for asylum-seekers. These challenges will apply to both new asylum-seekers and those already in the U.S.

The changes are as follows:

  • An asylum application will be more heavily scrutinized if the applicant passed through another country before the United States without seeking asylum in that country.
  • Living in the U.S. without documentation for more than a year will count as a significant adverse factor.
  • Failing to pay taxes will count against the asylum claim.
  • Working without authorization will count against the asylum claim.
  • Any criminal conviction (even if it has been reversed/vacated/expunged) will count against the asylum claim.
  • “Membership in a particular social group” will be redefined (regarding reasons for persecution).
  • The definition of persecution would become “an extreme concept of a severe level of harm,” which will exclude many forms of persecution and general lack of safety.
  • Adjudicators can deem applicants ineligible and close their cases without allowing applicants to defend themselves in court.

According to Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy counsel at the American Immigration Council, this new policy is not designed to improve or streamline the asylum system but to make it nearly impossible for people to seek refuge in the United States.

Particularly troubling is the proposed changes to the definition of “particular social group.” Many people seek asylum because they are fleeing domestic violence, gang violence, terrorism, torture by rogue government officials, and other forms of persecution committed by non-state groups. Under the new rule, all these examples may no longer be valid.

In the last few months, most of the sweeping changes the administration has made to the immigration system were grounded in coronavirus-related concerns. This new policy, however, does not cite COVID-19 at all.

Bring Your Concerns to Our Firm

The proposed rule still must go through a 30-day public comment period, so it will not take effect immediately. At Milla & Associates, LLC, our attorneys will keep you updated regarding this policy and any other changes to the immigration system. Furthermore, we have the skills and experience needed to continuously adjust our strategy and guide you through unexpected challenges. Obtaining (and maintaining) legal status in the U.S. is tremendously challenging in today’s political climate, but, with qualified support from our team, it is certainly possible. Let us help you navigate the ever-changing immigration system with efficiency and foresight.

Call (312) 702-1782 or fill out our online contact form today.