Asylum or refugee status: two options for immigrants


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We have to look at the U.S. Immigration laws to determine who should seek asylum and who should seek refugee status. According to Giacomo Behar, an immigration lawyer and an immigrant himself, it’s simply a matter of where you are and when you apply. Are you on American soil, or are you somewhere else?

"Somebody who’s outside the United States cannot request asylee status. To request asylee status, you have to be physically present in the United States."

And what about refugee status?

"You’re a refugee when you’re outside the United States – say you’re in Somalia, you’re a Christian and you’re being persecuted by a some Islamist."

To qualify for either, you must show two things. You’re unable or unwilling to return to your home country because you’ve been persecuted. Behar states the second thing is:

"Persecution by the state, a government or by groups that the government is either unwilling or unable to control."

That brings us to Texas and Murietta; what is the status of this flood of immigrants that produced this crisis? They don’t seem to fit either criteria for refugee status or asylum. These kids fall, in reality, nowhere. They are not refugees, and there are strict standards for asylum. You have to ask for asylum on political grounds, past persecution, or fear of future persecution or one of five other protected grounds.

Under current laws, when immigrants arrive on American soil, they cannot be simply put on a plane and sent back to their home country. Most will stay in the United States for at least a year and a half before they’re brought before a judge to determine their status. Since many are children, they will go to the head of the line because the court backlog today is 360,000 cases. Past history says over 90% will fail to show up in court. Behar believes none of this could have been achieved without Mexican authorities cooperating with whoever is responsible for this sudden wave of immigrants.

Categories: KUSI