The Zero Tolerance Policy of the Trump Administration re Asylum Seekers
By: Ally Bolour, Esq. – Law Offices of Ally Bolour, APC
Lets just make something absolutely clear – there is nothing illegal about asking for asylum at the border. It is illegal however to turn asylum seeker away without first processing them under the provisions set by Congress.
Asylum seekers not on U.S. soil must present themselves to a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent stationed at any U.S. border, and express fear of persecution if they are forced to return to their countries of origin. At this stage – the asylum seeker should be taken to a secondary inspection location where a different Officer will evaluate the applicant’s stated fear. This is called the Credible Fear Interview (CFI.)
If the Applicant passes the CFI, he/she will then be transferred to a detention center and placed in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) until the case is presented and litigated in Immigration Court (EOIR.) During this time, it is possible to ask for a bond in order to transfer the case to a non-detained docket. Whether or not the Applicant remains detained, an Immigration Judge will render a decision regarding the claim at the conclusion of the proceedings.
Under Trump’s Zero Tolerance Policy towards asylum seekers, minor children are being separated from their parents in order to discourage people coming to the border. In recent weeks, over 700 children, including more than 100 under 4 years old, have been separated from their parents.
Once the families are separated, the minor children are classified as Unaccompanied Minors (UAM) and placed with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The adults then will likely face criminal prosecution.
The conditions at the detention facilities for UAMs are simply abhorrent. Some visitation rooms are so cold that lawyers have to wear ski jackets to meet with their clients. Even the County Juvenile Probation personnel file regular complains to no avail. Without any authority, ORR shares sensitive information about the kids with ICE – which the agency will then use to deport these children.
This federal policy towards these most vulnerable migrants is unprecedented. If you have friends or family caught in this nightmare and need help, please feel free to call our office at 323-857-0034. Please mention Adelante Magazine to receive a free consultation with one of our attorneys.