- Does the credible fear screening interview meet the right of due process as defined in the US Constitution?
- Is the U.S. meeting its international commitments to protect refugees and asylum seekers? The United Nations Human Rights Commission guidelines state: “detention should be exceptional and a measure of last resort.”
- If the families were released — would we have a crisis at the Border?
- Are immigration courts adequately funded to handle the backlog of cases?
Migration patterns from Latin American have undergone a big shift. Unlike previous surges, the latest involves few single men from Mexico. Currently more Mexicans leave the U.S. than arrive as migrants.
Central American families now account for the large majority of new arrivals, and most are seeking asylum as they cross a port of entry along our southern border.
Currently, the Trump Administration is detaining most asylum seekers. They are placed in expedited removal proceedings by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and referred for a credible fear screening interview conducted by an asylum officer.
Based on the interview, the officer then decides whether the applicant has a “significant possibility” of being eligible for asylum. If so, the officer refers them to immigration court. If not, the applicant is ordered removed.
The length of the asylum process varies, but it typically takes between 6 months and several years. Applicants who must go through the immigration court system faces significant backlogs.
As of the end of the recent federal shutdown, there were over 800,000 pending immigration cases and the average wait time for an immigration hearing was 721 days.
Previously — asylum seekers were logged into a system and then released until their court hearing. The current Administration detains these families — but does not have the facilities to house them.