Rising Homelessness and Hunger Threats: US Tightens Rules for Asylum Seekers
For years, the administration of US President Donald Trump has been introducing and proposing various strategies aimed at limiting the right to asylum in the United States and humanitarian protection available to foreigners fleeing persecution based on their religion, political views, nationality, race and membership of a particular social group. Writes about it CBS News.
The administration claims that long-standing asylum policies and laws encourage unauthorized border crossings and allow economic migrants to abuse their right to work in the United States while their cases are being tried by the country's immigration courts. The changes, which took effect on Tuesday, August 25, are part of the widest restriction on work permits for asylum seekers in history.
According to the innovation, immigrants must wait 365 days from the date of their application for asylum before applying for a work permit, which replaces the previous 150-day period. It also denies asylum seekers the right to apply for a work permit if they crossed the border illegally.
W.L., who now lives in Ohio with her children, is one of the immigrants at the center of a national lawsuit challenging a policy that human rights activists say will make low-income asylum seekers vulnerable to homelessness, hunger and limited access to health care. help. A 28-year-old woman would be eligible to apply for a work permit next week under previous rules. However, due to the new rules, she will not be able to apply until April 2021.
Referring to his own case, W.L. doubts that most migrants seek asylum solely to obtain better economic opportunities. According to her asylum claim, in Guatemala she was repeatedly raped by her former boss, a powerful and wealthy lawyer. She said that he first raped her when she was 19 and then continued to abuse her physically and sexually. She became pregnant twice from him, once she terminated the pregnancy.
After the birth of his son W.L. said that the child's father, her abuser, refused to provide financial assistance. She filed a lawsuit in family court. According to the asylum application, it was then that threats from her boss's family began. She said she filed a police report, but the threats continued, prompting her to travel north to the southern US border with her son, now 8.
“We come to this country not only for money. It is very difficult to leave their homes, their families and face danger on the way, ”says W.L.
An asylum seeker from Guatemala said she turned down offers to work illegally because she wanted to "get it right." She said it was not easy, adding that charity groups helped her cover medical expenses for the children.
Organizations that have filed a lawsuit in Maryland District Court on W.L.'s behalf hope to convince the trial judge that the rule not only violates federal administrative law, but is invalid because it was approved by the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolfe, who they say was illegally appointed to the position.
“The innovations are completely irrational and are published by someone who does not have the authority to publish them,” said Mariko Hirose, who oversees the trials of the International Refugee Project, one of the organizations challenging the restrictions.
Earlier this month, the Government Audit Office, the Congressional investigative agency, discovered that Wolfe and his deputy, Ken Cuccinelli, had been improperly appointed, a finding that lawyers say supports their argument that the directives endorsed by Department of Homeland Security chiefs must be invalidated. The Department of Homeland Security firmly rejected a legal opinion from the Government Audit Office, accusing them of bias.
Conchita Cruz, co-executive director of the Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project, one of the Maryland case groups and legal services provider W.L., said the new rules contradict the Trump administration's position that immigrant communities should be self-sufficient.
“It makes no sense to put obstacles in the way of asylum seekers to obtain work permits, the ability to work legally and the ability to support their family - especially during a global pandemic,” Cruz said. "It goes against any other goal of ensuring that asylum seekers can work and support themselves."
The Department of Homeland Security acknowledged some of these concerns, but said the department did not agree with the view that the policy was "overly burdensome, cruel, or prevents foreigners from becoming self-sufficient." In response to public comments that the rule could leave asylum seekers unable to pay their rent, the department said that those concerned that they will become homeless “should familiarize themselves with homelessness resources provided by the state in which they intend reside".
Cruz called the response "heartless" and "cruel."
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which reviews work permit requests, did not respond to additional questions about the rule. In June, when the policy was finalized, Joseph Edlow, de facto head of USCIS, said the changes "restore the integrity of the asylum system and reduce any artificial incentives to apply for asylum to obtain a work permit."
Meanwhile, back in Ohio, W.L. hopes the immigration judge will approve her asylum application so that she can stay in the United States with her son and daughter.
“I hope, I pray to God, that I will receive a positive response. I cannot return to my country. My situation is very difficult, she added. "In my country, we do not have the necessary security."
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