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New policy for migrants seeking asylum in U.S.

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.

In a statement released by the Department of Homeland Security, officials stated that their reasoning behind the change in the asylum process is to reduce the flow of mass migration at the southern border. The Trump administration is expected to roll out the new policy slowly to help refine the process before expanding it. Transpiration for court appearances will be handled by ICE, the agency that's also responsible for arresting undocumented people throughout the country.

Advocates for immigration reform were quick to criticize this new policy announcement. They claimed that sending asylum seekers to Mexico is a naked attempt to undermine the legal asylum system and deny protections to individuals and families already in harm's way. It's likely that this new policy will be challenged in court by lawyers representing affected asylum seekers.

People seeking asylum in the United States have to go through a complicated legal system, but they may benefit from getting representation from an attorney who practices immigration law. An attorney may argue on behalf of their client in immigration court and recommend legal strategies to help them stay in the country. In cases where a migrant is mistreated by authorities, a lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit for the damages inflicted.

Source: CNN, "US to begin sending asylum seekers to Mexico for duration of immigration proceedings," Geneva Sands, 01/24/2019

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