Immigration Law

Settlement May Give Second Chance to Asylum Seekers Separated at Border

Dara Lind, Vox, Sept. 13, 2018 - "The Trump administration has just agreed to give parents who were separated from their children at the US-Mexico border earlier this year a second chance to make asylum claims in the US.

The Department of Justice has negotiated an agreement that covers three lawsuits filed against the government over the family-separation policy. Parents in the US who’d been ordered deported would get another chance to pass an interview demonstrating a “credible fear” of persecution — the first step in the asylum process.

If either the parent or the child passes the screening interview, families will be allowed to apply for asylum together. Some parents who don’t pass will be allowed to remain with their children in the US while the children’s cases are adjudicated.

And in some cases, the government is even willing to consider reopening cases for parents who were already deported from the US.

The agreement covers three lawsuits: Ms. L v. ICE, which forced the government to reunite separated families this summer; M- M- M- v. ICE, brought on behalf of children separated from parents; and Dora v. Sessions, a lawsuit from parents who had failed their initial asylum screenings because they were distraught after weeks of separation from their children.

If the agreement is approved by the federal judges overseeing the three lawsuits, it will result in a second chance for hundreds of parents. Muslim Advocates and the Legal Aid Justice Center, who represented the plaintiffs in Dora v. Sessions, believe it could give “well over 1,000” parents another chance at an asylum claim. And for many families, it will eliminate (or at least defer) the impossible choice between giving up a child’s legal case, and separating the family again by keeping the child in the US while the parent is deported."