Many refugees from around the world desire to seek asylum in the United States.
In immigration law, the term “refugee” means any person who is outside the country of his/her nationality, who is unable or unwilling to return to said country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
When Donald Trump entered office, the maximum number of refugees who were allowed to seek asylum in the United States was 110,000; but as of early September 2018, the Trump administration significantly decreased this number to 30,000. This “cap” or limit will take effect in the 2019 fiscal year.
It is not certain, however, whether the Trump administration will actually allow all 30,000 spots to be filled in the 2019 fiscal year, if the 2018 fiscal year is any indication. As of August 31, 2018, only 20,000 refugees were able to seek asylum in the United States, when the limit was placed at 45,000, according to the Refugee Processing Center. And with the 2018 fiscal year ending on September 30, 2018, it is highly unlikely that the government had reached this cap.
A backlog of over 800,000 asylum seekers attempting to seek refuge in the United States contributes to the dwindling number of refugees allowed to seek asylum in the country, which does not seem to be of much concern to the current administration.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admits to the Washington Post that the number of refugees allowed to seek asylum in the United States in the fiscal year of 2018 has been the lowest number in decades, even as he claims that the United States remains the most generous nation to refugees all over the world. Pompeo goes further, stating that “In consideration of both U.S. national security interest and the urgent need to restore integrity to our overwhelmed asylum system, the United States will focus on addressing the humanitarian protection cases of those already in the country,” as opposed to disturbing the cap for those who have yet to come in to the United States, those who are considered “refugees” under the law.
Seeking refuge in the United States can be a difficult process. If you or a loved one is a non-citizen and are concerned about immigration issues that you may be facing, it is imperative that you consult an experienced immigration lawyer who can advise you of your legal rights and potentially help you find available pathways to legal residency and citizenship.
The New York immigration lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP have years of experience representing clients in complex immigration cases. With two immigration law offices located in New York City and Clark, New Jersey, the firm’s attorneys are available to assist individuals throughout the tri-state area with their immigration matters. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York City immigration lawyers, call (212) 267-2555 or fill out our contact form.