Immigration in the Headlines

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If you’ve been paying attention to national news headlines lately, you’ll know that there is currently a large group of migrants traveling from Central America through Mexico towards the U.S. These individuals are likely fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries and are risking their lives for the chance of seeking asylum in the U.S.

While 2018 has seen fewer arrests at the border on average than in recent years, the Trump administration is treating this new group of asylum seekers as a dire emergency that reportedly requires the response of the military. It has also been reported that Trump is considering issuing an executive order and publishing regulation that would restrict these individuals’ ability to seek asylum using the same reasoning he used in issuing his travel bans. It is highly likely that any such move would be immediately challenged in federal court.

Asylum is not a simple process to navigate, regardless of whether a person is seeking asylum through USCIS or the immigration courts. Currently, USCIS—the government agency that processes applications for asylum for those not in removal proceedings—is reviewing and adjudicating asylum applications on a last-in, first-out basis. This means that the asylum applications filed most recently are being adjudicated almost immediately while those who filed applications in the past will continue to wait to receive an interview and decision. In fact, many applicants end up arguing their cases in removal proceedings instead of before USCIS, often because they receive a notice to appear in immigration court before they have had a chance to apply with USCIS or because the Department of Homeland Security places them in removal proceedings before they have received a decision from USCIS.

Although it may seem intimidating that applications are being processed this way, asylum applications are required to be filed within one year of arriving in the U.S., with few exceptions. Thus, if you believe you may have a claim for asylum, it is important to speak with an experienced immigration attorney promptly so he or she may review your eligibility to apply for asylum before the one-year deadline or determine if you are eligible for an exception to the deadline.

While the national news is focused on refugees and asylum seekers, the ICE detention facility located here in Aurora, Colorado, is the subject of the local news. It has been reported that 10 detainees at the facility are being quarantined for chickenpox. This is not the first time the Aurora facility has been in the news for its medical treatment of detainees, and it, unfortunately, may not be the last. Former detainees and immigration advocacy groups are working to inform the public of the treatment of detainees and to help create change in the culture of the privately-run detention facility.

Joseph & Hall P.C. attorneys are involved in the national and local immigration bar associations focusing on these issues, and we work hard to ensure our clients have the strongest cases possible, whether they are before USCIS or the immigration court. If you have questions about your immigration options, contact our office for a consultation with one of our attorneys.

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