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USCIS to limit protections for unaccompanied migrant children

The steps taken by President Donald Trump to stem the flow of migrants crossing into California and other border states from countries in Central America has grown increasingly aggressive in recent weeks. On May 30 the President said that he would begin imposing tariffs on goods imported from Mexico on June 10 if steps were not taken to stop migrant caravans before they reach the United States, and on May 30 immigration authorities announced plans to limit special protections afforded to unaccompanied migrant children.

Under U.S. law, migrant children who are not accompanied by an adult can make their asylum claims before a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer rather than an immigration judge. If their claims are denied, they are given a second chance for asylum in an immigration court. A USCIS spokesperson said that these protections would no longer be offered to unaccompanied minors who turn 18 while in federal custody or are reunited with family members or guardians.

President Trump claims that he is only taking executive action because Congress has refused to draft legislation to tackle the problem and the Mexican government is not doing enough to prevent migrant caravans from crossing its southern border. More than 40,000 unaccompanied migrant children have been apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents since October 2018.

Millions of people around the world hope to start a new life in the United States. Attorneys with U.S. immigration law experience could advise those seeking temporary or permanent residence in America about the various family and work-based visa programs available. Attorneys could also help asylum seekers to gather the evidence they will need to support their claims.

Source: Reuters, "U.S. limits protections for some migrant children", Kristina Cooke and Mica Rosenberg, May 31, 2019

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