Asylum cases based on an immigrant’s credible fear of persecution has significantly declined due to the Trump administration’s pressures on immigration judges to deport more people and limit immigration in general.
In a report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), immigration judges determined asylum seekers had present adequate evidence to establish their credible fear in only 14.7 percent of cases heard since January, which is almost half as often as the same period a year ago.
Credible fear of persecution is often based on an immigrant’s race, religion, political standing, or membership of a certain social group. This applies to most families (consisting of parents and their children) at the southwest border.
Immigrants who successfully demonstrate that their fears are credible can remain in the United States and move on to the following stage of the asylum process. Those who fail are subject to deportation.
The sharp decline of favorable outcomes results from accusations of “baseless and fraudulent asylum applications.” Attorney General Sessions in October 2017--to an audience of immigration judges--requested to “elevate the threshold standard of proof in credible fear interviews.” In June, he ordered immigration judges to stop granting asylum to domestic abuse and gang violence victims.
According to the TRAC report, the outcomes of credible fear reviews generally depend on the judge and region. For example, judges in Arlington, VA, found that asylum seekers had established a credible fear of persecution in 60 percent of the cases in 2015, while judges in Baltimore, Maryland passed 50 percent of cases. By contrast judges in El Paso granted favorable rulings in less than 10 percent of cases, while Los Angeles judges found credible fear in approximately 20 percent of cases.
In conclusion, the immense amount of discrepancy, imbalance, and inequality in asylum adjudication is clear. These statistics highlight our lack of dedication to provide equal justice for all people.