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Caravan at Border Must Prove 'Credible Fear'

About 200 migrants will make plea for asylum, a process that can take months or longer
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2018 11:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – The caravan of migrants that has drawn the attention of President Trump is much smaller than it used to be, but an estimated 150 to 200 Central Americans are now at the US-Mexico border hoping to gain entry into America. US border officials have slowed things down at least temporarily by informing the asylum-seekers that the US processing facility they must enter is at full capacity, resulting in most of the group remaining in limbo on the Mexican side of the border. It's not clear when the logjam will clear. Details and developments:

  • What's next: Despite the delay, the Washington Post reports that many of these migrants, many of them from Honduras, will indeed gain entry to the US, if only temporarily. That's because the US must by law consider the pleas of asylum-seekers.

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  • The process: The migrants will first make their case to a US asylum officer, who will conduct a "credible-fear interview," explains the New York Times. Three-quarters of applicants pass this initial review, proving that they face persecution at home, but then they must convince an immigration judge. This process can take months, even years, during which time the migrants are held in detention facilities or sometimes allowed to travel within the US. "We're only sending people who we think will pass the credible-fear interview," says a volunteer lawyer helping the caravan.
  • This caravan: The group once numbered more than 1,000, and that's typical. As the Times notes, migrants make such a trek every year around this time in large groups for safety, in part to highlight the plight of the dangerous journey. Some members of the group have remained in Mexico seeking asylum there instead, per the AP.
  • Flash point: While such caravans are yearly events, this one has become a flashpoint, with Trump using its presence to complain about immigration procedures. Other White House officials are following suit. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the caravan "a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system," and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made a point to warn that anyone giving false statements in a bid for entry faces prosecution.
  • Tough hurdle: While most migrants are allowed into the US to request asylum, actually having asylum granted is a much tougher hurdle, reports CNN. It notes that roughly 75% of those from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala seeking asylum between 2011 and 2016 lost their cases.
(Read more immigration stories.)

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