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It has recently been declared that unaccompanied kids who illegally cross the US-Mexico border will no longer get the chance to apply for asylum. This is a huge change from previous practice as well as a great restriction to how minors can apply for protection in the United States.
Some Former officials at Homeland Security’s senior Department stated that it is cruel to include children in the major bar on asylum that the Trump administration has placed on those that illegally cross the border. Ultimately, the restriction won’t be effective in deterring minor migrants from coming into the country.
The former head of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, which will be tasked with ultimately carrying out the changes, Leon Rodriguez said, “You’re taking kids who are desperate enough because of whatever circumstance they’ve found themselves in, and who our laws have already identified as a particularly vulnerable population. You have slammed the door pretty completely on their access to relief.”
An official of the Department of Justice, who spoke to reporters recently through a call, while speaking anonymously, said that the order from the President that suspends entry at the border down south would not apply to unaccompanied minors, which seemed to show that it wouldn’t affect their asylum eligibility. The Department of Homeland Security also posted a document online recently relating to the asylum policy, which declared that the new rule “does not limit the rights of unaccompanied alien minors.”
However, officials have clarified days later that unaccompanied children would also be affected, but they could still be eligible for some other form of protection, such as special juvenile status. They further stated that in terms of operation, nothing will change procedurally for unaccompanied children, other than the asylum ineligibility.
For a long time, President Donald Trump has often complained about the previous asylum process, with claims that individuals who are aware that they are not really qualified abuse the system in order to stay in the US while the agency processes their claim.
For years, The treatment and processing of unaccompanied minors at the US-Mexico border has been a major focus for Congress, which includes changes to how quick they are taken out of the custody of Border Patrol, access to legal representation, and the screening process of their asylum.
Unlike adults, unaccompanied children could apply for asylum and be granted directly with an officer of the USCIS, as opposed to showing up in an immigration court. Also, even if a USCIS officer initially denies a child, he/she could take the asylum claim to a US immigration court.
However, under the revised policy, which is already in effect, both adults and children who cross the border without proper authorization will have more limited options on how they’ll remain in the US. People who apply for asylum at a legal port of entry, will however not be troubled by the new changes.