"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.
We have heard a lot about the “Caravan” of immigrants making its way north through Mexico from the Northern Triangle- El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala- of Central America. Once numbering over 1200 people, the remaining 150-200 members Caravan arrived at the U.S. border to request refuge in the United States. When they got there, they were told that the U.S. was full. There was not even a manger to house them.
DACA lives! Maybe? Yesterday, U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled that the Department of Justice’s termination of the DACA program rested on a lack of legal reasoning and was unlawful. Judge Bates was the third federal judge to rule that the administration’s termination of DACA was unlawful. However, Judge Bates went even further than the other courts and Judge ordered not only that the DACA program must stay in place, but that the government must accept NEW applications.
Dree Collopy, an attorney based in Northern Virginia, said one of her clients—an Ethiopian woman—recently got an expedited asylum interview because her family members back in Ethiopia were in danger. After the interview, though, nine months passed without them getting word on whether the woman would get asylum. “Instead of issuing a decision, they scheduled her for a second interview,” Collopy said. The woman recently went in for Interview Number Two. They still haven’t heard whether she’ll get asylum.
We are thrilled with our April 2018 Clients of the Month, Aldemar Segundo and Susan Matos Segundo. Aldemar became a permanent resident in March 2018 and can live securely with his U.S. citizen wife, Susan, and their two children. Aldemar’s improbable journey is one of the most inspiring cases we have been a part of. When DACA was announced, Aldemar was like lots of other Central American immigrants without status in the U.S.