Languishing in limbo
The U.S. spends millions annually to hold hearings for everyone seeking asylum. Yet out of the tens of thousands who come from Central America, less than 1 percent are eventually granted asylum.
By Tatiana Prophet
The Democrats need to figure out where to focus their ire. Why are immigration judges determining that so very few of these individuals deserve asylum?
The current Trump proposal that will be voted on Thursday in the Senate requires minors from Central America to apply for asylum in their home countries, and caps applications at 15,000.
A Democratic senator from Colorado was quoted by the AP as saying that this proposal is ""even more inhumane and un-American than Trump's disastrous zero-tolerance policy."
SPIN OF OMISSION IN MOST MEDIA ARTICLES:
Just hundreds per country! In 2014, roughly 50,000 unaccompanied minors came to the United States from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and asked for asylum. That same year, only 490 people from Guatemala were granted asylum. (See gallery below for charts).
The other two countries, even less. Let's say 1,470 were granted asylum that year, the same amount for all three countries. The amount granted asylum, after all the detention and foster parents (sponsors) and losing track of the kids, is .029 percent of all who seek it.
Further, thousands of children run away or do not respond to the Office of Refugee Resettlement efforts to check on their welfare. They remain in the country undocumented, and often, fending for themselves.
From the Associated Press:
Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the chamber but need Democrats to reach the usual 60-vote threshold for bills to advance. No Democrat has publicly expressed support for the proposal Trump announced over the weekend.
The Republican plan is a trade-off: Trump's border wall funding in exchange for temporary protection from deportation for some immigrants. To try to draw more bipartisan support, it adds $12.7 billion in supplemental funding for regions hit by hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.
All told, it would provide about $350 billion for nine Cabinet departments whose budgets are stalled. Other than the wall and immigration-related provisions, the core measure hews closely to a package of spending bills unveiled by House Democrats last week.
In exchange for $5.7 billion for Trump's wall, the legislation would extend temporary protections against deportation to around 700,000 immigrants covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Trump has tried dismantling the Obama-era program for so-called "Dreamer" immigrants, those who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, but has been blocked by federal lawsuits.
That figure is substantially lower than the 1.8 million people Trump proposed protecting a year ago, which included people potentially eligible for DACA protections but who'd not applied for them. In addition, Trump's 2018 proposal included other immigration changes and $25 billion to pay the full costs of building his wall. His measure was among several the Senate rejected last February.
The new Senate bill would also provide three more years of temporary protections against deportation to around 325,000 immigrants in the U.S. who have fled countries racked by natural disasters or violent conflicts. Trump has ended that program, called Temporary Protected Status, for El Salvador, which has the most holders of the protected status, as well as for Honduras, Nicaragua and several other countries.
Another part of McConnell's bill would tighten restrictions on minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking asylum in the U.S. It was already drawing condemnation from Democrats and immigration advocates.
The proposal would require asylum seekers under age 18 from those countries to apply for that status at special facilities in Central America, not at the U.S. border; let no more than 15,000 receive asylum annually; and bar them from appealing a decision to the courts.
The proposed asylum curbs would be "even more inhumane and un-American than Trump's disastrous zero-tolerance policy" of prosecuting all migrants entering the U.S. without authorization, said Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo. DeGette chairs the House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee that is investigating Trump's now abandoned policy of separating migrant children from their families.