California residents have likely been paying close attention to events taking place at the U.S.-Mexico border. Several thousand migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua have gathered in Tijuana and say that they plan to apply for asylum in the United States, but their attempts to cross the border illegally have largely been thwarted and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Dec. 20 that new rules had been put into place to deter fraudulent asylum claims.

During a tense House Judiciary Committee hearing, Nielsen said that asylum seekers from what are known as the Northern Triangle countries will now have to wait in Mexico while their claims are being evaluated. She told lawmakers that the previous policy of allowing asylum seekers to remain in the United States while their cases were pending resulted in a flood of bogus asylum claims from immigrants who never showed up to their immigration hearings.

A DHS representative announced that the new rules would go into effect immediately and would not apply to Mexicans. The official also said that the Mexican government would continue to provide humanitarian aid to the immigrants while they wait for their asylum claims to be heard.

The rules for asylum claims are clear, and immigrants who are not able to provide credible evidence of a legitimate threat based on their race, religion or political opinions are unlikely to be allowed to remain in the United States. Attorneys with experience in this area could help asylum seekers to gather the kind of evidence that will be required to support their claims, and they could also explain the various other paths available to those who wish to start a new life in America.

Source: CNN, “US says asylum seekers to be sent back to Mexico for duration of immigration proceedings”, Geneva Sands, Dec. 20, 2018