Thousands of asylum seekers who were detained by federal authorities in border states like California and Texas and returned to Mexico may be given another chance to start new lives in the United States. President Biden put an end to his predecessor’s controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy during his first day in office, but the fate of the asylum seekers who had already been denied entry into the United States remained unclear until June 22.
Department of Homeland Security announcement
That was when the Department of Homeland Security announced that asylum seekers with cases that were denied or dismissed because they did not appear in court will be able to submit new petitions. A senior executive from the International Organization for Migration believes that at least 10,000 migrants will take advantage of the opportunity and reapply for asylum. However, some immigrant advocacy groups are worried that news of the announcement will prompt asylum seekers who have already returned to their home countries to make another perilous journey through Mexico.
Petitioning for asylum is the first step of a process that can take years to complete due to a backlog of more than 1.3 million immigration and naturalization cases. That backlog has grown even larger under the Biden administration. About 43,000 asylum seekers have reentered the United States since Biden halted the policy.
Legal help with asylum petitions
Experienced immigration attorneys could help asylum seekers to gather evidence that could show they have a legitimate fear of persecution in their home countries based on their race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or political opinions. Attorneys could also advocate on behalf of asylum seekers during immigration proceedings and explain alternatives they could consider like work- or family-based visa programs.