Media outlets in North Carolina and around the country have devoted a lot of attention in recent months to the ongoing legal challenges to some of President Trump’s more controversial immigration policies. Trump has declared the situation on the nation’s southern border a national emergency and has issued a flurry of executive orders designed to stem the flow of migrants heading toward the United States from Central America. However, most of his efforts have been rebuffed by the courts.
Analysts and media pundits alike predicted another contentious legal battle on April 29 when Trump signed what is likely to become a much-debated presidential memorandum. In the memorandum, Trump ordered the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to reduce the time it takes to process asylum claims to 180 days, require those seeking asylum in the U.S. to pay an application fee and deny work permits to asylum hopefuls who crossed into the country illegally.
All of these measures are expected to be challenged in the courts, and leading Democrats have already said that the president is approaching the problem from the wrong direction. The application fee may provoke especially contentious debate as it will require migrants to make an already perilous journey while carrying large amounts of money. Immigrant advocacy groups say this will make them an even more inviting target for Mexico’s powerful criminal cartels.
For immigrants seeking asylum, the barriers to living in the U.S. may seem insurmountable. However, the right to asylum is guaranteed by federal law, and those who can establish a genuine and credible fear based on their religion, race, national origin or political affiliations should be given the opportunity to begin a new life in America. Attorneys with immigration law experience could help asylum seekers prepare for their credible fear interviews.