Seeking asylum in the United States may be the only option for those who fear returning to their home country. Unfortunately, U.S. immigration law does not always make it easy for asylum-seekers to demonstrate credible fears. A recent ruling by a federal court could make it easier for those who hope to make Louisiana their home but were initially denied asylum to seek an appeal.
In 1996, Congress passed a law that severely limited asylum-seekers access to the American court system. This made it difficult -- if not impossible -- for people to challenge the decisions made by immigration judges and asylum officers. A recent ruling from a U.S. Court of Appeals states that the limitations of the 1996 law are actually unconstitutional. This means that it will be much more difficult for the government to enforce quick deportations for those who fail their initial asylum screenings at the border.
The ruling came after a 2017 incident, when a man from Sri Lanka showed up at the border between the U.S. and Mexico. He told an asylum officer that he feared returning to his home country because he had been beaten, threatened with death and tortured by the army because he had supported a certain political candidate. Despite these claims, his asylum request was denied. He later pursued an appeal in which he claimed that the asylum officer never asked him questions that would have demonstrated the true extent of his credible fear. His case is currently set to return to a lower court for deliberation.
Asylum-seekers often face tremendous obstacles to even getting to the border in the first place and being denied can be an emotionally overwhelming experience. However, the recent changes to the U.S. immigration law could make it easier for some people to file appeals. Those who are considering appealing their asylum denial may want to speak with an experienced Louisiana attorney before moving forward with the process.