In March of 2020, the CDC issued a public health order known as Title 42, which allowed the US to expedite the expulsion of asylum seekers from our southern border. As we approach the order’s lifting on May 11, 2023, a new rule governing eligibility for asylum has gone into effect for a two-year period, until May 11, 2025. This new rule is designed to prevent the circumvention of legal pathways and has been interpreted as an asylum ban, incorporating elements of a third-country transit ban and the metering of asylum seekers.
Who is most affected as of May 11, 2023?
During Title 42, it was common for asylum seekers to enter the United States between ports of entry and turn themselves over to Customs and Border Protection to begin the asylum process by expressing fear of return to their country of origin. After going through the credible fear process, the asylum seekers would be able to file the necessary applications to request asylum, either in a detention center or released from custody at an immigration court.
As of today, if an asylum seeker who has traveled to Mexico from another country crosses the border without authorization and then turns themselves over to express their fear, they will no longer be presumed ineligible for asylum. Very few situations will warrant a rebuttal of asylum eligibility. Those suffering from an acute medical emergency, imminent and extreme danger, or who have been victims of severe trafficking will be able to argue a rebuttal.
Who will still be eligible for Asylum?
Asylum seekers who are an unaccompanied child, enter with humanitarian parole, or had previously applied for asylum in another country and were denied will not be presumed ineligible for asylum. The largest group that will still be able to apply
are those who pre-schedule an appointment at a port of entry using the CBP One application. Since January, asylum seekers in Mexico have been able to use CBP One to pre-schedule a time and date to meet with officers at different ports of entry along the border with Mexico. Use of CBP One requires stable internet access, a smartphone, and patience, as the application has a propensity to crash or freeze as people scramble for the limited slots available per day. Currently, appointment slots are being increased from 300 to 1,000.
Whenever a new immigration process is implemented, false information will spread faster than the truth. Asylum seekers who have traveled to the border with Mexico are particularly vulnerable to predatory practices and advice that can have permanent negative consequences for their future. We have helped clients navigate the use of the CBP One application and prepared them for their credible fear interviews and beyond. Now more than ever, it is important to prepare for the rapid changes that are occurring for families or loved ones wishing to seek asylum in the United States.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Danny Chrisney is the managing lawyer at the Wilner & O’Reilly | Phoenix office. The son of a Guatemalan immigrant, Danny speaks fluent Spanish. Growing up in the Latino community of Southern California Danny saw how our nation’s immigration laws could shape the lives of those around him. Danny received his Juris Doctor degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University where he graduated with Highest Pro Bono Distinction. While attending law school Danny worked with USCIS at the Phoenix Field Office. There he received a Certificate of Appreciation for his legal research. He was also able to work as a law clerk for the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, Children’s Division, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing legal services to unaccompanied minors and other refugees. He worked closely with Indigenous Guatemalan children in the areas of Asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.