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Is the asylum program due for reform?

Many immigrants come to the United States seeking a better life. Often, the move comes because they seek refuge from persecution. The legal concept of asylum is when somebody whose health or well-being is threatened by staying in their homeland.

To get asylum status in the US, first one has to go through immigration court. The number of cases processed by US immigration court has tripled since 2009. With so many cases, it’s hard for the court to keep up with demand. Politicians are seeking solutions to the backlog.

Who qualifies for asylum?

Under current law, if someone is persecuted in their home country because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group,” they are a candidate for asylum in the US.

Why such an increase in cases?

The last qualification mentioned above—“membership in a particular social group”—is the part that’s under scrutiny by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Asylum claims for safety from gang problems and domestic violence are common, especially for women and children entering the country. Some judges and legal authorities feel that false claims are clogging the system.

Asylum proponents argue that the increase in cases is because of mounting global problems, such as gang violence in Central America, which force more people to leave their homes.

Seeking security and a better life

The concept of “the American dream” is to find a home where everyone is free from persecution. The asylum system is a perfect reflection of that mentality. While it’s currently undergoing high-level discussions about how it functions, anyone who feels unsafe in their home country should consider the program as a possible path toward a better life. A consultation with an experienced immigration attorney will be able to provide specific answers to questions about who qualifies and how to begin the process.

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