OPINION: The Right to Asylum

With a little over a week left for the Trump administration to reunite the over 2,500 immigrant children still detained, we must remember what brought these children here in the first place –the search for asylum.

Just as important to remember, asylum is a right for ALL established under U.S. law and international law.

However, Trump’s new immigration policy will no longer issue asylum protection for domestic violence and gang violence –the main reason behind the migration to the states of the thousands of families separated under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy.

Parents of these children will soon have to make the tough decision: whether to stay with their children and be deported together or keep their children under HHS custody until a sponsor, usually a family member, takes them in.

“We cannot allow all of these people to invade our country, “ Trump stated in a tweet last month, “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or court cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents…”

The only mockery to good immigration policy and ‘Law and Order’ is Trump and his administration.

It is not against the law for people to seek asylum, yet thousands of immigrants from our southern neighboring countries are held hostage in detention camps, being kept in cages, and so are their children.

These families are fleeing from violence-related situations that could vary from gang violence, to domestic violence, to LGBTQ discrimination. For many, asylum in another country is the only option for survival.

Soon, thousands of these families will be forced back into that potentially fatal reality. Children left under the care of a sponsor may very well also be sent back after their asylum is denied due to the new Trump-era policy.

A recent opinion piece featured on The Hill details how even with all the chaos revolving around our nation’s asylum policies, the number of immigrants being granted asylum is relatively small, with only around 20,000 people allowed to stay in the 2016 fiscal year.

The article cites data from researches at  Syracuse University that show that in 2017, there was a denial rate of 61.8 percent, the majority for people from Central America.

There is no doubt that there is a racist filter that discriminates against those seeking-asylum from Latin American countries brought upon by the Trump administration and their xenophobic, racist agenda.

We all deserve the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – fundamental values this our humanity is founded upon.

However, our government is doing everything possible to keep out those most in need of these principles.

As we prepare to see if the Trump administration will reunite all the wrongfully detained, asylum-seeking families targeted by his zero-tolerance policy, it is important to remember one thing: asylum is a right for all established under both U.S. law and international law.