Asylum Denials Hit Record High Under the Trump Administration

According to reporting from CBS News, immigration law judges under the Trump Administration are denying asylum applications at a record rate. In the 2018 fiscal year, 42,000 asylum cases were decided: asylum was denied in approximately 65 percent of these cases. More asylum applications were rejected in 2018 than in any other year for which data is available.

Notably, asylum applications are being rejected at a higher rate than in previous years. For perspective, in 2012, only 42 percent of asylum applications were denied. 2018 marks the sixth straight year that the denial rate has increased.

The data is clear: the United States appears to be tightening asylum standards. If you or your loved one is considering applying for asylum in Los Angeles, it is more important than ever that you have a strong legal advocate by your side.

The Trump Administration Changed the Rules of Asylum Applicants

There are undoubtedly many different reasons why asylum denials hit a record high in 2018. Though, it must be noted that the Trump Administration changed the rules on applicants. In June, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions made getting asylum more difficult for victims of domestic violence, victims of gang violence, and victims of drug cartels. In a terrible policy change, the administration made it far more challenging for victims of private violence (often domestic violence victims and victims of criminal gangs) to satisfy the ‘credible fear’ requirement needed to prevail in an asylum claim. This move by the administration was particularly devastating for many vulnerable migrants originating from Central America.

Central American Migrants are Disproportionately Affected By the Trump Administration’s Policies

CBS News reports that 80 percent of all asylum cases that were decided in the 2018 fiscal year involved applicants from just four countries of origination: Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. These countries are disproportionately affected by drug cartel violence. Yet, historically, migrants from all four countries have low rates of success in asylum applications. As the Trump Administration changes the rules — once again actively making the process harder for desperate and vulnerable people — Central American asylum seekers bear the brunt of the impact.

There are other serious inequities in how asylum cases are handled. Certain immigration judges rarely grant asylum. Earlier this year, a Los Angeles Times report found that immigration judges approve asylum claims at vastly different rates. According to the data, some Los Angeles County judges only approved asylum in three percent of cases, less than one tenth the rate of the national average for 2018 (35 percent). This raises questions about the fairness of the standards those immigration judges are using in adjudicating asylum cases.

Get Help From an Asylum Lawyer

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our immigration lawyers are persistent, diligent advocates for asylum seekers. If you or your loved one is applying for asylum in Los Angeles, we are here to help. To arrange a fully confidential immigration consultation, contact us today.