A March 7 ruling by a federal appeals court in California might have a profound effect on migrants coming to America. Judges have agreed to allow migrants who have failed to qualify for asylum in the U.S. to appeal their rejections. This ruling stands in stark contrast to the current law, which states that rejected migrants who fail to establish “credible fear” can only appeal based on minor, technical grounds. However, the 9th Circuit federal appeals court found this to violate years of legal rulings, all of which granted constitutional protection to non-citizens.
Seeing as there are currently massive numbers of migrant families trying to get into the U.S. seeking asylum, this ruling can offer them an alternative route to make their cases. Additionally, the ruling is expected to increase the number of cases in the immigration court backlog, which stands today at around 800,000. The real problem is that there aren’t enough judges to work through all these cases.
The ruling was over a case involving a Sri Lankan native who claimed that he had been kidnapped, beaten and tortured owing to his support of the Tamil ethnic minority. After he was arrested for crossing California’s southern border, the man requested asylum. Subsequently, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agent interviewed him and came to the conclusion that he could not establish a “credible fear” related to returning to his country. Upon trying to appeal the decision, the Sri Lankan native found out that the law would not permit a federal judge to look into his case a second time in order to establish whether “credible fear” truly existed.
This ruling has the potential to affect the lives of millions of migrants who make their way to the U.S. every year. If any migrant has been refused asylum and would like to appeal their case or just wants to understand America’s legal system, they might benefit from reaching out to a lawyer who specializes in asylum/refugee cases.