As news stories about the so-called Central American caravan continue to grow and change, President Trump is seeking new ways to block these migrants from crossing the border and requesting asylum. The president has made it clear that he wants to require asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while the request is processed. However, the increased risk of the asylum seeker's safety outside of Texas' border towns has caused some to protest.
Texas residents may be aware that the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights have filed a lawsuit challenging President Trump's recent proclamation that denies asylum to immigrants who cross into the United States illegally from Mexico. Arguments made by the civil rights groups were apparently persuasive because a federal judge in California issued a temporary restraining order on November 19 that bars enforcement of the controversial policy.
Media outlets in Texas and around the country have devoted much of their coverage in recent weeks to a caravan of migrants traveling through Mexico on their way to the United States. The migrants say that they are fleeing violence and poverty in Honduras and plan to seek asylum in America, which has prompted a national debate about the asylum process and how asylum seekers differ from refugees.
Some immigrants in Texas who may have been scheduled for deportation after having their asylum claims denied might get a second change under the order of a federal judge in California. On Sept. 14, the judge ruled that families in which parents had been illegally separated from their children should get a second chance to explain their credible fear of returning to their home countries.
Two asylum-seeking immigrants who were deported from Texas were ordered returned by a federal judge on Aug. 9. The incident occurred during a hearing in a case that involves a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union to a decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that affects whether people can seek asylum because of gang or domestic violence.
Many Texas residents are aware that the federal government has been widely criticized for its policy of swiftly deporting reunited families of undocumented immigrants. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit seeking to give undocumented families more time to prepare their asylum claims or legal defenses, and the district court judge hearing the cased ruled on July 16 that deportations should cease temporarily. Attorneys representing both the ACLU and the government will now have the opportunity to argue whether or not the order should be extended permanently.
Immigrants in Texas with asylum applications may be concerned about recent remarks made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said on June 11 that certain asylum seekers would no longer be granted protection. In particular, victims of domestic and gender violence and gang violence will not be protected, as Sessions classified these types of attacks as "personal crimes" rather than targeting for one's social position. This is a distinct shift from existing practice, which recognized these types of violence as a social phenomenon rather than one that is purely individual.
When people living in Texas apply for asylum in the United States, there are two different types of asylum applications: affirmative and defensive applications. The decision as to which one to pursue depends on whether the immigrant making the application is subject to formal removal proceedings. There are similarities between the applications as well as differences; both provide a means for foreign nationals to escape persecution in the United States.