Trump Signals in State of the Union Coming Attack on Asylum Seekers

Last week, the Trump Administration revealed its newest immigration plan. At first glance the plan appears to simply trade a path to citizenship for the 1.8 million Dreamers, young people in the U.S. illegally, in exchange for the illusion of security of a border wall. However the very general language signals that the administration intends to use this as an opportunity to further its attack on the legal relief available to vulnerable groups such as immigrant children and asylum seekers.This intention was clarified in the State of the Union address. President Donald Trump in his address referred to eliminating "loopholes." For many years people have used to term loophole to refer to rights and privileges that flow from our country's laws and constitution. This is another sad example of picking on the most vulnerable people. To do this as a bargaining chip for the rights of Dreamers is beyond cynical.Since 1990 American law has provided protection to unaccompanied immigrant children. Because unaccompanied immigrant children are generally vulnerable to harm, such as child trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, drugs, and gangs, Congress created certain legal protections for them in the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. This law was passed with broad bi-partisan support and since been reauthorized.One of the protections for these vulnerable children is a Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa. The process of obtaining this visa is complicated and requires a predicate court order from a State Court as well as an additional process by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The administration claims the need for reform because children don't show up to court, but this is simply untrue. The vast majority of children do show up for their court hearings, and even more do if they are represented by attorneys.  Continue reading...

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