Another hit to immigration, the Trump Administration is looking into ways to limit who can receive asylum in the United States. As the number of applications for asylum have increased significantly in recent years, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a special interest in limiting who qualifies for asylum.
Attorney General Sessions personally intervened in two separate cases that could have serious future implications for people who desire to come to the United States and seek asylum. In the first case, Sessions overturned a precedent that asserted that most asylum-seekers have a right to a hearing in front of a judge before their case is rejected. In the second case, Sessions is deciding whether victims of “private crime” should qualify for asylum.
By tightening the restrictions on the asylum application process, Sessions believes that the backlog in the immigration court system will be reduced. And yes, immigration courts in the United States face a huge backlog – approximately 600,000 cases still sit in the court system, triple the number of 2009.
VERDICT: Attorney General Sessions sees “rampant fraud and abuse” in the asylum application system. From his perspective, closing loopholes in the asylum application process would ensure a speedier process to lessen the backlog in the immigration court system.
However, taking away from asylum seekers the right to a hearing in front of a judge before their claim can be rejected reduces the government’s ability to determine which applications might be fraudulent and which are genuine. There must be a middle ground between ensuring a speedy process and a fair one.