“This bill will bring an end to asylum for all minors from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala arriving at the U.S. border,” said Dree Collopy, a partner at Benach Collopy LLP, in an interview. “This historic change in asylum law would categorically block tens of thousands of children from ever applying for asylum.”
"President Trump tried to claim Tuesday night that shutting down the federal government over his demand for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is a compassionate action — that he is taking a stand on behalf of the American public and even immigrants in response to what he called a “humanitarian and security crisis.” Trump was right about one thing: What’s happening on the southern border is a crisis. But it is his choices that have created it, and his wall would not solve anything."
“If I were to walk into court asking for a final decision before the the shutdown even happened, I would have to wait until 2021,” Ava Benach, an immigration attorney at Benach Collopy told ThinkProgress in an interview. “I have a client who was supposed to have a hearing on January 3 where we were going to resolve a number of issues and create a plan going forward, and now who knows when that will happen?”
One morning in April of 2015, we had the honor of meeting Selamawit Chale for the first time. She came to our office, broken, hurting, and terrified, but at the same time, her inner strength was palpable. We learned that Selam was once a bright and hopeful young woman, anxious to make a difference in the world and to contribute to her communities; however, traumatic events in her childhood, followed by years of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her husband had silenced her.
Ava Benach, an immigration attorney from Washington, said those denial rates simply prove that asylum rules haven’t adjusted to modern realities. She said victims of domestic abuse and gang violence should absolutely qualify for asylum because Central American governments cannot help them, either because they are unable or unwilling to confront the husbands and gangs that carry out those crimes.
President Trump’s recent action to limit asylum claims at the U.S.-Mexico border is just his latest attempt to scare Americans about asylum seekers, undercutting long-standing principles of decency and humanity. And like most of what Trump says about immigrants, the rationale the administration is using to keep out asylum seekers is based on myths and deliberate obfuscations.
The law as passed by Congress is very clear as to who may seek asylum in the United States. Immigration & Nationality Act Section 208 states: Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including an alien who is brought to the United States after having been interdicted in international or United States waters), irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum in accordance with this section or, where applicable section 235(b).