Last Monday, President Obama announced that he was sending additional resources to the Southwest Border to help with the growing humanitarian crisis involving tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors and families migrating from Central American. The President vowed these resources in part, to more quickly return “unlawful migrants” to their home countries and discourage additional children and families from following in their same dangerous path to the U.S.
The President said regarding these expanded resources: the Department of Justice (DOJ) and DHS [Department of Homeland Security] are deploying additional enforcement resources — including immigration judges, Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys, and asylum officers — to focus on individuals and adults traveling with children from Central America and entering without authorization across the Southwest border. The DHS is working to secure additional space that satisfies applicable legal and humanitarian standards for detention of adults with children. This surge of resources will mean that cases are processed fairly and as quickly as possible, ensuring the protection of asylum seekers and refugees while enabling the prompt removal of individuals who do not qualify for asylum or other forms of relief from removal.
Many pro-immigration advocates have criticized the President’s decision. They argue that returning migrant children and families to their home countries is inhumane and in many cases we would be sending these migrants back to the crime and poverty that are the very reasons they fled to the U.S. However, this promise of expanded resources will actually help ensure that those migrants, many of whom are eligible for immigration benefits in this country, will receive a full and fair determination of their eligibility, rather than face lengthy detention and summary denials of benefits.
With an increase and funding and resources, those migrants who have to be detained can finally spend that detention time in adequate facilities. This is much better for the migrant families and children, and for us as Americans as we try to fulfill our legal and moral obligations to help legitimate refugees who come to the U.S. for help. The increase in immigration judges, attorneys and asylum officers will also help to greatly reduce the amount of time that detainees spend in detention before their cases are properly and fully reviewed by trained asylum officers and immigration judges. Trained and experienced immigration judges and attorneys can help ensure that those migrants who are eligible for relief because they will be persecuted (asylum), were victims of crime (U-Visas), victims of humans trafficking (T-Visas), victims of domestic violence and child abuse (VAWA) and who are unaccompanied minors (SIJ status) are identified and provided with the proper forms and applications to request relief.
The experienced immigration attorneys at Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon can help you or your family members who have recently come into the U.S. and need assistance to determine if you are eligible for any immigration benefits. Call or email us to schedule a consultation today.