tv Washington Journal Sarah Pierce CSPAN November 28, 2018 1:18pm-1:46pm EST
coming up this afternoon, life coverage on a hearing on efforts to overhaul the legal guard indianaship of the elderly. live coverage at 2:30 eastern here on c-span 3. sara pierce joins us. she's a policy analyst for that organization and we're here to talk about the process of asylum in the united states. good morning. a bit. about the policy institute for those who don't know, what is it? >> it's a nonpartisan think tank that studies the movement of people worldwide. and i specifically work in our u.s. immigration policy program focusing on everything that affects u.s. immigration. >> the process of asylum, what does it mean when someone want wants asylum in the united states? >> when a foreign national is requesting asylum, they are requesting protection. they are fearing persecution in their home country and want to seek protection in the united states. >> so when the government wants to question those who would come in, what are they look iing fors
far as evidence or proof they need protection in the first place? >> not everyone who is fearing something at home necessarily qualifies for asylum. it's quite specific definition. it's someone who is fearing persecution based on their political believes, ethnicity or political opinion or membership in a particular social group. so the individual has to fit in that tight definition in order to qualify. >> there are two types of asylum, generally one is affirmative known as the defensive. can you explain those positions? >> absolutely. it's someone who is already in the united states let's say a student is studying in the united states. suddenly something changes and they are scared of going back. they apply with the immigration agency.
i can't go home and i'm scared for my life and they awe ply before the judge. another type of defensive alie sum is someone who is at a port of entry or a border. they are trying to come into the united states to clinton campaign asylum. >> so for those at the border of tijuana and want to apply for asylum, what's the process at this point? >> once they get into the united states, the issue with tijuana is that a lot of them aren't being permitted to come in. at least not immediately to apply. but once they are ermt. ed to come into the port of entry and say they have a fear of returning home, they will be given a preliminary asylum interview. most people get through that interview. it's just meant to weed out frivolous claims. at that point, their case is handed over to our immigration court system where they apply defensively before the judge to apply for asylum. >> the process from application to whether they get a court date, how long is someone going to wait typically and what do
they do while they are waiting? >> that's the unfortunate thing. our immigration court system is backed up that the time in between that preliminary interview and actually applying for asylum before the judge has been stretched on for a long time. it might be five years before the judge and apply for asylum. most are living in the united states and establish. ing roots here. it's a problematic system who want that protection. but also for the integrity of the system. it really invites misuse the fact that you're really permit ed to stay in the united states that whole time without having proven that you qualify for asyl asylum. >> our guest is here to talk about the process for those wants asylum in the united states. if you want to ask questions about it, 202-748-8000 for democrats.
in 2018 when it comes to the defensive filings, there were 110,000 that number growing from 2008. when you're looking at the number of individuals applying for asylum at the border, that has increased by 1,000% over the last ten years. so that increase is then putting major strain on our defensive asylum system and that's what you're seeing there. >> so when it comes to those total claims that are done and then the actual numbers of people that are brought in, the border patrol breaks it down by country. the request for asylum, 1900. what's the percentage average
wise of those who apply and those who get it eventually. >> so the ultimate approval rate. once they get in and once they then apply for the immigration judge, that approval rate is the lowest it's been in 20 years overall it's about 33%. but then specifically when you're locking at individuals from the northern triangle because it's over 60% of the claims. those are a little less. it's between 18 and 23% for individuals from the northern triangle countries. >> so what is going to stand out it to me saying, no, this personen can't get asylum in the united states? >> it's really difficult. you have to assess how credible the claim is and how well founded the fear is is. does the individual have a well-founded fear of persecution on behalf of those factors that i named rlier. .
when really pressed, the court system put it a percentage on it. they want to assess if there's a 10% likelihood that individual would suffer serious harm if returned to their country on behalf of that fear. ra pierce of the migration policy institute. the first comes from allen. he's from brooklyn. you're on with our guest. hello. >> thank you very much. i heard recently that the rules about asylum applications were improved after the experience holocaust, people seeking to escape germany. they were turned away from the united states under those current immigration rules and denied the chance to make an application for asylum. those rules were liberalized after that from happening again. and given that many people do not come in over the mexican
border where trump could say wait on the mexican side of the land before coming across to make your application, any situation where people are fleeing persecution by air or sea, there would be no such opportunity to hold them outside the border. you're going to allow them to come in by ship or plane and make the application or as in the case of st. louis, you'd turn them away ask send them to their deaths. so this is not a rule that trump can really apply to most of the immigration installations around the country's borders. it may work with mexico, but it doesn't work in general and not a just system. >> thank you. >> it's true that our laws and rules as they stand are an evolution of what happened during world war ii. the international community came together and said we need to be responsible for individuals that are fleeing such dangers in their home countries.
that gave way to the 1951 convention and subsequent conventions and then in the united states we had a law pa passed in 1980 that was an evolution of those laws and those tragedies. and that's how it stands today. it's also true there's a very different situation for individuals aplight at the border. rnd u.s. law, we have to process asylum applications for people on u.s. soil. for people arriving in the united states, it's a little more tricky and a little more of a gray area. which is why we have seen the president able to really kind of exert his powers at the southern border, hold off individuals and refuse to accept their asylum applications initially. it's a different story when someone lands in a u.s. airport and asks for asylum because they are on u.s. soil. >> when the judge in the ninth circuit filed a stay of the
trump administration, what happened? >> so the trump administration had had tried to change how we approach asylum at the southern border and say that individual who is cross in between ports of entry, so individuals who cross illegally are ineligible to app apply. that means anyone who wanted to apply had to g to a port of entry. but the judge entered a restraining order and said, no, that's not the case. once they are on soil, we have a fear of returning home. that's only temporary. we have a restraining order from the judge. it will go up through the court system and i assume it will be heard by the supreme court. so we have to wait and see.
>> i was wondering why people seeking asylum couldn't apply for asylum at an embassy down in honduras or in mexico. to be screened before they make a trek up to the the border so we don't have all this huge group coming across the border. >> i agree. i have that same question. that would be a much better policy. it would save people a lot of heart ache. especially those who get to the united states, apply for asylum and don't qualify. if they could know initially that they aren't going to qualify, it could save a lot of problems. we just don't have that as a policy. if you walk up to a u.s. embassy in honduras, they won't allow you to apply for asylum. you need to be at a u.s. border or inside the united states in order to apply for asylum.
>> if another country offers one of these migrants asylum, does negate them applying in the united states. >> not necessarily. it depends on whether or not they are firmly resettled in the united states. >> which means what? >> it means if they had the opportunity and protection to live in a safe country, and they actually did settle down roots there before coming to the united states and applying for asyl asylum, they will likely will e refused asylum in the united states. >> let's go to lee in maryland. >> caller: let's clear up the fog here. we have a system that works. we have people standing in line to come into this country. these people want to jump ahead. get in line like everybody else. we allow tens of thousands if not more to come into this country every year. it's not like the line is
standing still. we use caucasian shame in this country to make people who are white feel like they are prejudice. i'm hispanic. that doesn't work with me. second of all, we need to do the right thing. if these people are being oppressed in their countries, do what we did. pick up arms, fight for your country, fight for your children, fight your your freedom. that's really all i have to say. thank you very much. >> so it's a common misperception that there's a line to get into the united states when you're talking about different ways of get. ing into the united states. so through family based means or employment based means. we have a bunch of small category. s through which individuals can apply for permanent residency in the united states and we let in a large amount of individuals through the categories each year. a million people get green cards in the united states each year. the reality is for the most of the people that are trying to flee problems this their home
countries, they don't qualify in one of the tiny categories. and there is this resource that the united states and the congress decided o to extend to individuals who are fleeing persecution. so they are going through legal means to apply for asylum and seek that protection in the united states. but there's no alternative line they could get in or trying to jump. >> your organization put out a report saying they described as in crisis. what's the main argument there. >> we were looking at the backlogs. there are massive backlogs on asylum that have accumulated over the last eight years or so. so in the immigration court, like i said, you're not going to see a judge for three or four or five years. and the backlog before the um grags court is over 320,000. then when you're talking about affirmative cases, that backlog is also at 300,000. and when you have these delays,
it really hurts the sintegrity f the system because it invites people who have less claims who might be applying fraudulently. they get temporary authorization. so it might be worth it to file those case. the more with get, the more the public distrusts the asylum system chrks is a problem. and the more we end up inviting that misuse. >> what's the responsibility of the justice department to provide resources to speed up the process of asylum cases? >> the justice department is tasked with hiring more judges. that will go a long way. but they can can only do that so quickly. you really need a qualified individual to be an immigration judge. that individual needs to be highly trained so it's a slow process. we have seen more recently, but
it's not thuf to keep up with the major backlog. >> this administration? >> under both. president obama and president trump have both pushed hiring immigration judges. under president trump we have seen the time line to hire immigration judge decrease. >> it doesn't matter we have an acting attorney permanent? >> we had a decision or policy change in the department of justice recently in the the last week saying that asylum cases need to be adjudicated within 180 days. we don't know how that will actually play out at the moment. i'm still thinking cases will probably continue to take five years because we have so many and 180 days is a tight time line for an immigration court that's so heavily tasked. but if they are able to speed up that, we'll start working
through the backlog more quickly. will they have the ability to present evidence and have claim heard? that will be a major question that we'll have to see play out. >> is evidence a story from someone saying they need asylum or something tangible to prove that? >> it's anything they have to krcorroborate the claim. if they have maybe written threats from the individuals that were persecuting them, that could be evidence they put forward or if they have witnesses who saw the abuse, saw this going on, they could put them forward as well. and when you have that real break in in between the initial credible fear interview and asylum adjudication, a lot of the evidence gets dated. maybe you had a witness at first, but you lost touch and can't present them. so there are also due process concerns with having these cases so far delayed. >> we're talking about the asylum process with the
migration policy institute. susan from new york, you're on, go ahead. >> caller: hi, i'm susan. thank you for taking my call. i'm listening to the process and it's interesting. i appreciate the information. what i'm also interested in is the humanization information about the process. if you could please provide some details as to what it's like for the human beings who are coming and seeking asylum on the other side, what are the real details of the fears they are being faced with and the oppression they are being faced with so we can increase maybe some empathy in addition to the understanding of what the process is. that would be helpful. >> i think that's a really great question. so i work at a bipartisan policy institute really studying these things for a living.
i don't work with identiasylum seekers, so i too, have to seek out stories like that to get the real humane aspects and understand what's going on with these human beings. it's extremely difficult. if we're talking about the caravan, they have traveled on foot over 3,000 miles to come up to the border. they don't have a huge understanding of the process and how difficult it is. so i think a lot of them are really confused and concerned right now. by the fact they have to wait to have claims and the fact is that some of them are very legitimate who are fleeing persecution. i recommend you reach out to people who represent them buzz they will be able to do justice to these individuals' concerns. >> illinois is next, undependent line, hello. >> caller: good morning, everyone. i listen to reporters that went
down and were among all people. and most of the people said we're going to america for the jobs. that was their thing. some of them even had fliers that said we needed them as workers. and this tear gas stuff, five years ago president obama used tear gas almost every day on just 1,000. there was just 1,000 people in that caravan. and it was almost at the very same place that they are at now. so when these people come in, they get all this counselling from all these lawyers that go down there and they want jobs. they want asylum.
we ought to do something -- something ought to be done. >> thank you. >> so ruth's concern is a common one. the fact that maybe these individuals are just coming to the united states to work rather than actually fleeing persecution. i think it's quite confusing when you ask if they are coming to the united states for work, for jobs. most of them would say yes even if they are asylum seekers because they don't see themselves within the bounds of the the law. they see themselves as human beings. they are fleeing persecution, but they want a better life for themselves asks their families. so i think it is a concern they aren't fleeing at all and really just are coming to the united states to work. but we do o know that at least some of them are legitimate asylum seekers chrks is why we want to adjudicate those claims quickly. that way individuals who fall under our congress created definition of asylum seekers are
permitted to come to the united states and get that protection and really resettle. meanwhile individual who is don't meet that definition are pushed out and forced to really return home. >> is there a cost to apply for asylum? >> no, the application is actually free right now. >> as far as legal representation, is that provided by the government if a person needs it or do they have to provide their own? >> unfortunately, there's no government provided representation. you do need to provide your own. which is a really difficult process. i'm an attorney and i still get confused about the asylum law. it's really impossible for these applicants to see their own way through this system. but at same time, they are going to have to seek out the attorney and inpay for the attorney as well. >> aside from the case on an applicant makes, what's done to vet them? >> so before they get a green card and get that permission to stay in the united states permanently, they go through the same vetting that any card holders fwo through.
also checks on their departmentation to make sure it's legitimate and thorough crascreening as well. >> amy, good morning. >> good morning. i have a question about the evidence as well. with syria, those refugees, the evidence is there. you know their homes, their neighborhoods have been destroyed. and also we have people in our associates, the other people that we work with on the ground there. so we know why there's a moral imperative to accept people from countries like that. but as far as down in honduras. we know we have at least one government agency down there.
what other government agencies are down there and what kind of knowledge do they have to help verify the persecution that these people are experiencing. >> we do have the department of state that works as well and maintains a thorough knowledge of what's going on in the ground. and one thing you're getting at as well is individuals have a different type of claim that they are put pursuing. so talking about a refugee from syria, that individual is really fleeing persecution on the part of the government, which is traditionally how we think of asylum while central america are fleeing persecution on the part of private actors. which is is a part of asylum law that's developed over decades in case law, but isn't what we think of as asylum or as a
refugee. that's definitely a hurdle they are having to overcome. >> independent line in illinois, james, hello. >> caller: hello. i have a comment. in the '80s, i'm 76 years old. in the '80s i had a good middle class job in the meat packing industry. beef packing went around after reagan's amnesty and bought up all the little meat packing plants. they came in and told us our wages were cut many half, our pension plans were over, our insurance was done, everything, forced us all out and filled the plants up with mexicans and today they pay less than they paid us back in 1988. and they are still plants right now are about 75% hispanic. every time you bring an illegal
alien into this country and put them to work, you put an american out of work. somebody is doing their jobs now. >> so caller, when it comes to the asylum process, your question or comment please. >> caller: this is the chamber of commerce and big business bringing cheap labor into the country. >> let's go to steve. steve will be our last call from alabama. independent line. >> caller: the purpose of the asylum bringing all the refugees in, the purpose of all immigration, legal and illegal in this country is to destroy the white race. asia is a swarm with billions of non-whites. africa the same. >> what's the best thing to watch for in the next couple weeks? >> concerning the group at the border, we're having all these people waiting tijuana, they
are only threating 100 a day come into the port of entry and apply for asylum. there's a case currently being adjudicated in california as to whether or not the metering process is legal. so i think that is going to be an important thing to watch. there's also the legal case over the administration's new asylum ban for individuals applying in between ports of entry. we'll see that adjudicated as well. and we're going to watch the administration pour in more resources to the immigration agency and the immigration court to speed up cases and that new 180-day policy to see whether or not they can actually speed up these cases. there's a lot going on in and o lot of different areas. >> sara pierce for the migration policy institute. thank you for your time. >> representative jim bank. s is a repubca