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Changes could be ahead for asylum-seekers

Some asylum seekers who hope to cross into California or another U.S. state from Mexico may be stopped at the border. Thousands of Central Americans are waiting in Mexico to come into the United States and seek asylum, but it may be weeks or months before some are allowed to cross. In the meantime, they are vulnerable to dangers on the other side of the border.

Some of the ports of entry are controlled by cartels. People are also in danger from traffickers and kidnappers in the area. One woman described being kidnapped off the bus she was on a few hours from the Mexican border. The woman's family in Guatemala had to raise $3,000 to free her. The woman had fled a violent gang in Guatemala with her two children and eventually crossed the U.S. border illegally to seek asylum.

The Trump administration is in negotiations with the government in Mexico to keep asylum seekers on that side of the border as their cases wend their way through the U.S. court system. A director at the Center for Immigration Studies says some asylum seekers have waited outside the country in the past. However, the American Civil Liberties Union says they will be unsafe, so this will not be legal.

Immigration law can be complex whether a person is applying for asylum, a green card or some other legal issue. Some aspects of immigration law are also currently going through a number of changes, and some cases are pending with the outcome and what it will mean for immigrants unclear. Errors in paperwork can also cause delays. An attorney may be able to assist a person in navigating the system and any changes in the law.

Source: NPR, "Trump Plan Could Leave Asylum-Seekers At Risk In Mexico," Joel Rose, 11/29/2018

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