MIDLAND, Texas (BIG2/FOX24) – The Trump administration went further in cracking down on the ability of immigrants to seek asylum at the border. Now immigrants who enter the United States by land, through Mexico, will not be qualified.
The administration’s announcement today comes just hours after the start of deportation raids on Sunday. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is looking to deport about 2,000 people ordered to leave the country.
“The I.C.E raids were very successful. Many were felons. Many were convicted. Many were taken out on Sunday. You just didn’t know about it,” said President Trump.
Midland Immigration Attorney, Jeanne Morales, says the definition of ‘asylum’ often go misunderstood.
“It’s actually the way the law is supposed to work.” explained Morales. “International law having to do with refugees and asylum seekers does require that you seek asylum in the first safe country that you get to.”
International law requires asylum seekers to be able to prove that their government is oppressing them on the basis of race, gender, religion, or political party.
“People go thinking that all they have to say is, ‘Oh, I’m just afraid’ or ‘The cartels are doing violence in this little town I live.’ Again, that’s not a reason for asylum. Asylum is an internationally recognized concept, but it really has to do with persecution by your government.”
Morales says residents in West Texas would be shocked to hear just how many people in the Basin are without legal status.
“So many people only come to see us when their family gets picked up,” explained Morales. She says many do not seek proper steps due to fear, money, or lack of knowledge. However, in the case of an agent approaching an illegal immigrant to arrest him or her, immigrants have certain rights.
“Those people already have deporation orders. And yes, they can use that to deport that person, but it does not give them access to the house. They would need a warrant signed by a judge.”
Immigrants are also entitled to an attorney, although the government is under no obligation to provide one.