“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." -- Dree Collopy
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).
On May 4, 1970, U.S. National Guardsmen shot and killed four people protesting the Vietnam War. The massacre, known as the Kent State shootings, topped a tumultuous decade that spurred a lot of violence against those making then-controversial claims to civil rights. In the aftermath of the shooting, many Americans blamed the protesting students and cited violations of law allegedly committed by the protestors. What was not in dispute was that four young people lost their lives that day at the hand of troops acting under the flag of the United States.
Our May 2018 clients of the month are Marcelle de Lima and Luciano da Silva. Marcelle and Luciano are from Brazil and they came to the United States after the Brazilian economy started to decline in 2001 and they lost their jobs. When they came to the U.S., neither could speak English and they had to start their lives over from scratch. They were resourceful and determined to build a stable and happy life for themselves and their future children.