Over the past few months, Pennsylvania readers have likely heard about the Trump administration’s attempts to curtail asylum claims by immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. For the first time, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has released data on the number of “credible fear” claims made by people who hope to be granted asylum. This type of claim is used by immigrants who argue that it is unsafe for them to return to their home countries.

According to CBP, U.S. border authorities received 92,959 “credible fear” claims during the 2018 fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30. This represents a 67 percent spike from the 55,584 claims received during the 2017 fiscal year. Individuals making “credible fear” claims accounted for 18 percent of all immigrants stopped or arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2018, which is a 13 percent jump from 2017. While previously released statistics indicate that around 75 percent of those making “credible fear” claims pass the initial screening process to gain entry into the U.S., nearly 80 percent of asylum claims are later denied by an immigration judge.

The Trump administration has argued that many immigrants are gaming the U.S. immigration system to get across the border. In November, the president issued an order denying asylum to all immigrants who illegally enter the U.S. from Mexico. However, a federal judge in San Francisco overturned the order. The decision was upheld by an appeals court on Dec. 7.

Individuals seeking asylum or another type of visa may benefit from consulting with an immigration law attorney. An attorney may be able to prepare the necessary applications and represent a client’s interests during all immigration hearings.

Source: NECN, “‘Credible Fear’ Asylum Claims Up 67 Percent From 2017: CBP,” Elliot Spagat, Dec. 11, 2018