Cuellar, attorney explain asylum case obstacles leading to rejection percentage

State & Regional

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO)—Those seeking asylum have several options on how to file a case and present it to an immigration judge. A local congressman said the majority of these cases don’t win.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, told KVEO out of 100 people asking for asylum, 88% might get rejected.

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Several Central American countries do not fall under asylum law, according to Cuellar.

Because of a lack of uniform policies and uneven enforcement of some laws in these countries, migrants can be granted or denied entrance into the United States.

“Asylum law says there has to be a persecution by the state,” said Cuellar. “This means a crime committed by a criminal organization is not the same thing as persecution by the state.”

Various asylum cases Cuellar has witnessed is what the system calls “credible fear.”

 “Somebody will come in and say I fear for my life in the country I am in, that is what we call credible fear,” said Cuellar. “If an asylum officer says, yes there is proof of credible fear then that person will be given a hearing in front of an immigration judge.”

An immigration attorney based in the city of McAllen says some people seeking asylum never reported incidents to police in their home country due to fear of persecution.

“They come into immigration court lacking these documents out of fear,” said immigration attorney Alejandro San Miguel. “They have an immigration judge who might find that they don’t have enough documentation to prove their claims.”

Those that are granted asylum might have been prosecuted on account of sexual orientation, race. religion or political opinion.

“For example, their sexual orientation and they feel that the police are other folks would I’m not treated correctly,” said Congressman Cuellar. 

San Miguel believes there needs to be a solution. He hopes immigration reform arrives soon to assist those seeking asylum. 

“The United States hast to work with these other countries to try to identify the problem of why people are fleeing and trying to come back in and they have to work with other countries in order to solve that,” said San Miguel.

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