Beginning in late January 2019, the U.S. government will start sending some asylum seekers who show up at the border entry point in San Ysidro, California, back to Mexico as their asylum claims are being processed. They will only be allowed to enter the country for their court appearances for the duration of the asylum process. Certain parties, such as those with fear of being in Mexico and families with young children, will still be allowed to stay in the U.S. during the process.
As someone who came all the way to Colorado from a different country, you likely faced a long and difficult journey to get here. Once here, you made your life and possibly even started a family, but still, simply having permanent residency did not feel like enough. As a result, you pursued the path of becoming a naturalized citizen and were successful.
Immigrants who are applying for asylum in California or anywhere else in the United States will file either an affirmative or defensive application. Those who are filing an affirmative asylum application must do so within a year of the last time that they arrived in America. Furthermore, they must be in the United States when they apply for asylum. After filing Form I-589 with the United States Custom and Immigration Services (USCIS), a hearing will be scheduled.
If a U.S. immigration officer takes you or your loved one into custody, the next days, weeks or months of your life may be quite stressful. Depending on the exact circumstances surrounding your case, you or your family member may be at great risk for removal. Whether you sought asylum at a U.S. border or have been living and working in Colorado for years, overcoming legal status problems isn't easy.
According to the Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), there have been 42,726 immigration court hearings canceled because of the U.S. government shutdown. Immigrants in California and throughout the country have waited as long as four years to have those hearings. There will likely be another long wait for a hearing as there are more than 800,000 cases waiting to be heard. It's unclear if this will be a good or bad thing for those individuals.
Many immigrants currently residing in Colorado made their journeys to the United States through the asylum process. If you're hoping that the U.S. will grant you protection so that you can leave a life of poverty or danger behind, you should know several things before you file an application. It is important to learn as much as you can ahead of time because doing the wrong thing can delay your application or prompt the U.S. government to deny your petition.
In a recent change to immigration policy, those who have recently claimed asylum will have their cases processed first. Therefore, asylum seekers who have been in California for months or years will continue to wait for their cases to be heard. The process of seeking asylum used to take only a few months, but this is no longer true because of a recent influx of people asking for protection.
Immigration authorities may want to measure a person's knowledge of the United States. To prepare for such questions, people in California who are pursuing documentation to live in the country or seeking citizenship should become familiar with basic facts about the nation and its regions and political leadership.