Too often, immigrants who are seeking asylum in the U.S. are prosecuted as criminals in Streamline courts. The End Streamline Coalition believes that this is illegal as well as immoral. The U.S. should protect asylum seekers, not prosecute and incarcerate them.
What Does the Law Say About Asylum Seekers?
Criteria for Asylum
Protection for Asylum Seekers
- Asylum seekers should not be punished for seeking refuge in another country(1951U.N. Convention on Refugees and U.N. 1967 Protocol on the Status of Refugees).
- Asylum seekers should not be returned to their home country without determining if they have a valid asylum claim.(1951U.N. Convention on Refugees; U.N. 1967 Protocol on the Status of Refugees; U.S. Refugee Act of 1980).
How Is the U.S. Asylum Process Supposed to Work?
- An initial screening known as a Credible Fear or Reasonable Fear interview conducted by an immigration official. If individuals fail this screening, they may be deported. They may also appeal the ruling.
- Immigrants who pass the initial screening may present their asylum case before an immigration judge. There may be a long wait because immigration courts have lengthy backlogs.
What Really Happens to Immigrants Seeking Asylum in the U.S.
- Customs and Border Protection officials at ports of entry sometimes turn away asylum seekers, falsely claiming that the U.S. will not accept them. Border Patrol agents who apprehend border crossers sometimes ignore or dismiss immigrants’ requests for asylum and fail to document it. Agents may use the threat of family separation as means to deter asylum seekers traveling with children.(Link– Another link:
- Individuals who attempt to enter the U.S. without authorization are regarded as law-breakers and are prosecuted as criminals, even if they have come to the U.S. to seek asylum. This violates international prohibitions against punishing asylum-seekers.
- During the prosecution process, the immigrant’s request for asylum and right to a credible fear screening interview may be ignored or lost in the maze of detention and prosecution.
- The U.S. often incarcerates asylum seekers during the asylum process, even those who presented at a port of entry and are not being criminally prosecuted. This means that asylum seekers who passed initial screening interviews and are waiting to present their case to an immigration judge may be in an immigration detention center for as long as two years or more.
What Happens to Asylum Seekers Who are Prosecuted in Streamline?
How Many Immigrants Who Apply for Asylum are Successful?
- Success rates for passing credible or reasonable fear interviews vary by region and by the immigration official who does the interview.
- Those who pass their screening interview will wait one-to-two years before their case is heard by an immigration judge. During this time, asylum-seekers and their family members may be detained in an immigration detention center.
- Success rates vary by country of origin and the region of the U.S. where the case is heard. For example, in 2016, 30% of Chinese applicants were successful, compared with 10% from Guatemala and 7% from Honduras.
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