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PRESIDENT OBAMA’S IMMIGRATION POLICY IS QUITE DIFFERENT FROM DONALD TRUMP’S POLICY
The immigration laws of the United States provide several categories of people that can be lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Most of these categories are based on a qualifying familial relationship to a U. S. citizen or permanent resident or to unique employment skills with a qualified job offer. A lesser known and rarely used method of immigrating involves requests for political asylum.
Immigrants that apply for political asylum must prove that they have a “well founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group”. The few asylum applications that are approved are usually for people from countries that are considered to have “repressive governments” like Iran, North Korea or Cuba. That is why asylum applications for Mexicans are not usually granted. Doing so would necessarily imply that Mexico is a repressive country and would certainly complicate an already difficult relationship between the two countries.
The asylum application of a Mexican woman, referred only as “L. R.” provided the Obama administration the opportunity to establish a new policy for granting asylum for victims of extreme domestic violence. This particular asylum application was strongly opposed by the Bush administration. Bush administration lawyers argued that in spite of the extremely brutal nature of the violence and abuse inflicted on this asylum applicant, battered women cannot legally qualify for asylum period. They insist that crime victims are not included as a qualified group under the laws of political asylum.
After reviewing the case of L. R., senior lawyers for the Obama Administration issued a written statement which said “It is possible that the Mexican woman, and other applicants who have experienced domestic violence, could qualify for asylum”. This is a dramatic change in the policy of this country related to asylum claims. First, victims of domestic violence are now eligible and second, applicants from Mexico are now eligible. Even under the new policy, many conditions and requirements were included so that only a limited numbers of victims of domestic violence applying for asylum would qualify.
An immigration court filing stated that victims of domestic violence must prove that they are treated by their abusers as subordinates, little better than property and that domestic abuse is generally tolerated in their country. They must also demonstrate that they are not able to get protection from the government of their country and that simply moving to a different part of the country would not keep them safe.
President Obama’s vision and policies supporting immigrants is clearly different in every way to Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant executive orders. It is a shame that so many people now have to face a reality so different and cruel under Donald Trump.
While this change in policy is good news for Mexicans who usually do not qualify for political asylum, it is important to remember that it is limited to victims of violence and/or sexual abuse. And, because of the additional conditions, even many of these victims may not qualify. The publicity about possible asylum for Mexicans may once again cause unscrupulous people to deceive and defraud innocent victims by charging exorbitant fees with false promises of green cards for people they know do not qualify. ¡NO SE DEJE! ®
JESS J. ARAUJO, ESQ.