Legal Status of Refugees Walking to the United States

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People become refugees for several reasons, they fear persecution, they are compelled to leave in result of war, or they are displaced because of natural disasters. According to the Department of Homeland Security, a refugee is someone who flees their home country because they fear persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group (Refugees and Asylees, 2018). Refugees apply for asylum to another country to find a new place to live; the current legislation and policies make it difficult for one to be granted asylum in the United States.

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Furthermore, the United States government should take the current humanitarian crisis in the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) seriously and act immediately through granting asylum.

Asylum seeking policies

The Immigration Act of 1980 places a formal process for refugees seeking asylum. The refugees walking through Mexico can apply for asylum affirmatively. When seeking asylum affirmatively, refugees can be at a port of entry (Refugees and Asylees, 2018). Asylees must also apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within one year of their arrival. On the other hand, refugees can apply for asylum defensively under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Legally, the refugees walking through Mexico can acquire asylum affirmatively. The asylee must complete an I-589 Application, which asks a series of questions like why they are seeking asylum, whether they have faced harm, mistreatment, or threats or fears harm or mistreatment in their country of residency (I-589, Application, n.d., pg. 5). To receive asylum, refugees must receive a favorable grant from an asylum officer when applying affirmatively (Refugee Admissions, 2018).

There are three possible solutions for asylum applicants: being denied, local integration, or resettlement in another country. If the refugees’

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