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.
Today, it can take anywhere from two to five years to complete the asylum process. A person can live and work in the country legally while they wait for their claim to be approved or denied. Over the past six years, an increasing number of asylum seekers have had their claims denied. If this occurs, an individual is required to return to his or her country of origin. The policy of processing the most recent claims first is aimed at reducing a backlog of roughly 320,000 pending asylum cases.
Furthermore, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says that it would allow the government to quickly deport those who have recently applied for asylum. These individuals could potentially exploit the backlog of cases to gain employment in the United States. Critics of the change say that it could deny immigrants the time needed to obtain proof that their claims are valid.
If a person is labeled as an illegal immigrant, it could be possible to deport them with little recourse available to challenge the removal. However, those who claim asylum may be allowed to live and work in the country. After being granted asylum, an immigrant could become a permanent resident. An attorney could further explain the process of obtaining asylum or represent a client in an immigration matter.