The separation of parents from their children at the U.S. border by immigration officials sparked outrage in California and internationally. Now, according to an agreement reached between the separated families’ lawyers and the Department of Justice, over 1,000 separated families will have a second opportunity to apply for asylum. According to the text of the settlement, deportation proceedings would be halted and parents who were excluded after the first step of their asylum applications would have another opportunity to seek approval.
People seeking asylum in the United States must show that they have a credible fear for their lives or safety if they were returned to their home country. According to ACLU lawyers representing the separated families, the agreement will help to protect the right to asylum for families in the United States. The lawyers argued that the parents were never able to present their cases fairly or completely due to the separation from their children. This experience of forced separation was traumatizing and made it more difficult to discuss the situation in their home countries; moving forward, immigration officials will have to consider the parent’s psychological state.
In addition, lawyers have also noted that many parents were hurried through the process. Some were not fully informed about their legal options while others signed away their rights and perhaps even those of their children in order to be reunited with their families. Under the agreement, parents have a right to a lawyer during the second interview.
The policies of the Trump administration have sparked a great deal of fear and uncertainty among immigrants seeking to protect their status and future in the United States. Whether they are making a claim for asylum or seeking approval for a green card, immigration lawyers can help them navigate the system and defend their rights.