Asylum Opportunities Now Severely Limited for Immigrants Coming Over the Southern Border

The Biden Administration finally adopted new rules and issued a proclamation that together effectively closed the southern border to most immigrants, limit asylum opportunities, and enhance consequences for those crossing the border illegally. Because the ability to obtain removal relief is so much more restricted, it becomes even more important to consult an immigration attorney for assistance as soon as you are on U.S. soil. At Wogwu Law, we are monitoring the policies and legal challenges very closely, and we can help determine the best course of action and how to take advantage of the opportunities available in a particular situation.

Entry Restrictions

Under the proclamation, at times when there are a high number of arrests at the border, then the U.S. will suspend or disallow entry to most immigrants. This restriction applies at the southern border of the U.S., both via land and sea. The restriction takes effect when border “encounters” average 2,500 a day or more, and this has been the case for some time, so the restrictions took effect as soon as they were issued. Restrictions will continue until the average number drops below 1,500 per day.

Not every noncitizen is banned from entry at the southern border. The proclamation allows entry for:

  • Green card holders
  • Anyone with a valid visa or other documentation demonstrating lawful permission to enter the U.S.
  • Anyone who uses an approved process for entry, such as the CBP One mobile app
  • Unaccompanied children
  • Victims of “a severe form of human trafficking”

It will be more important than ever to have proper documentation.

Enforcement Consequences

The Administration noted that they have been referring record numbers of people for expedited removal, and are taking further steps to strengthen enforcement of immigration laws to “deter irregular migration.” Under the new rules, those who do not use a “lawful pathway” to enter the U.S., including those caught crossing the southern border between points of entry will face more intense consequences unless they are able to satisfy immigration authorities that they have a legal basis to remain in the U.S. An attorney can often help show that an individual has a lawful reason to remain, at least temporarily, so it is important to reach out for legal assistance quickly once in the U.S. or in a location that is considered “U.S. soil.”

The consequences of a border violation now include:

  • Ineligibility for asylum in most cases
  • Removal to the home country or a third country
  • Inability to return to the U.S. for at least five years
  • Possible criminal charges

Immigration authorities urge individuals to avoid putting themselves at risk and to use legal pathways to enter the U.S., but at Wogwu Law, we know that individuals in dangerous situations must sometimes brave the risks to protect themselves, and we fight to help these immigrants receive fair treatment.

Asylum Restrictions

The new rules make it more difficult for those crossing from the southern border to apply for asylum and more difficult to succeed in gaining asylum. Anyone entering “irregularly” (not through legal means) will only receive a fear screening for asylum if they specifically make a request for asylum or if they show or speak of their fear of a return to their home country or a fear of persecution or torture.

Those that show the right level of fear or who request asylum must meet one of the narrow exceptions to be granted asylum. Authorities will only grant asylum to those entering across the southern border if an individual can prove that they fit into one of three categories. First, asylum could be granted if they or someone they are traveling with face an imminent and extreme threat to their safety, such as a danger of rape, kidnapping, torture, or murder. Second, asylum could also be granted for those who are the victims of human trafficking. Finally, if someone entering through the southern border or their traveling companion faces an “acute medical emergency,” they could be granted asylum.

Individuals must now often show that they meet a higher standard to be eligible for asylum, demonstrating a “reasonable probability of persecution or torture.” An attorney can help demonstrate that those seeking asylum qualify under the current standards.

Wogwu Law Helps Overcome Immigration Challenges

While there is no doubt that the new restrictions make immigration pathways more difficult for those on the southern border, legal opportunities still remain, and these may increase when the new rules have been subjected to challenges in the courts. Wogwu Law is available to help those in the U.S. take advantage of every opportunity to achieve the best outcome in challenging situations, whether fighting removal, seeking asylum, or reaching other goals. Contact us today to learn how we can help.