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asylum

Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration may curtail asylum applications at the southern border while a legal challenge to the new rule is litigated in court.

Ohio is far from the U.S. southern border, but the policies and practices there are playing out here daily. The Cleveland Immigration Court has a caseload numbering in the thousands. Ohio jails and private prisons are collecting millions of dollars to house immigrants. And immigrant families who have lived in Ohio for years are planning their departures. Ohio is playing a big role in the national immigration debate.

Attorney General William Barr ruled Monday that immigrants fearing persecution because of threats against their family members are no longer eligible for asylum.

The case involves a Mexican man (identified as "L-E-A" in court documents) who sought asylum after his family was threatened because his father did not allow drug cartel dealers to use his store for business. That fear of endangerment traditionally has been the basis for legally recognizable claims for asylum.

Updated 8:05 p.m. ET

Hours after a federal judge on the East Coast refused to block a Trump administration rule requiring most asylum-seekers to ask for protection in another country before they try to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, a judge on the West Coast put a stop to the new policy.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction against the controversial rule unveiled by the White House and applied on a "pilot" basis last week.

The Trump administration has implemented its strongest effort yet to curb asylum claims, but an internal memo shows that U.S. asylum officers weren't briefed until just hours before the sweeping immigration rule went into effect Tuesday.

At first, the boy running around this migrant shelter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, appears to be just like any other 8-year-old: Skinny, shy, giggly. You don't even notice his glass eye.

But it's a constant source of worry for his family, who fled Guatemala earlier this year. The boy, Jonathan, lost his eye to a tumor when he was a toddler. Now he needs medicine to keep the eye clean.

"It's a very delicate sickness, very complicated," said his father Giovani, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter. "He needs checkups frequently by medical specialists in the hospital."

Ohio U.S. Senator Rob Portman
J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

After making a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border last week, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on Wednesday discussed his proposals to relieve crowded detention facilities.

Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is moving forward with a tough new asylum rule in its campaign to slow the flow of Central American migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Asylum-seeking immigrants who pass through a third country en route to the U.S. must first apply for refugee status in that country rather than at the U.S. border.

The restriction will likely face court challenges, opening a new front in the battle over U.S. immigration policies.

For thousands of migrants, their journey to the United States has been derailed in northern Mexico border cities under a U.S. program called Migrant Protection Protocols. With shelters overflowing and work unavailable, they create a home wherever they can.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, left, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Ohio's U.S. senators plan to visit the U.S.-Mexico border this weekend to observe firsthand the conditions at U.S. Customs And Border Protection detention facilities.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Editor's note: This story contains images that some readers may find disturbing.

The desperate and tragic plight of a father and daughter who drowned while trying to cross the border from Mexico into the U.S. has become a new flashpoint in the border crisis, after a photographer captured a haunting image that shows the pair lying facedown, washed onto the banks of the Rio Grande.

A record 70.8 million people had been forcibly displaced by war, persecution and other violence worldwide at the end of 2018, according to the latest annual Global Trends report by the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Rosa Hidalia Palacios fled El Salvador in April. She crossed into Mexico from Guatemala without a hitch, riding on a little raft that ferries people and goods back and forth. A few hundred yards down the Suchiate River from the rafting route, Mexican immigration enforcement agents watched idly from the official border crossing.

Palacios hasn't made it much farther than the border, as dozens of migration checkpoints cover all roads leading north. She is stuck in a nearby city, Tapachula, Mexico, waiting in line outside the little office of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET Friday

Officials at Customs and Border Protection say they have no immediate plans to transport hundreds of detained asylum-seeking migrants to two counties in southern Florida.

The news of plans to send migrants detained at the southern border to Broward and Palm Beach counties first surfaced on Thursday. Local officials said they were told by federal immigration authorities to expect as many as 500 migrants in each county every month.

A federal appeals court this week ruled that a Trump administration program that sends asylum-seekers back to Mexico may continue pending a final decision on a lawsuit that seeks to eliminate the program entirely.

The decision angered immigrant advocates, who say the policy, officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols, is having the opposite effect of what its name would suggest.

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