Posted on April 10, 2019

White House ‘Wants Asylum Seekers to Pass a More Rigid ‘Fear Test’ to Stay in the US’

Dianne Apen-Sadler, Daily Mail, April 10, 2019

The White House reportedly wants to force immigrants to pass a more difficult credible fear test when seeking asylum so less people make it across the border.

Under current rules, asylum seekers must prove they either fear persecution or torture in their home country before their case is passed to an immigration judge.

Around 90 per cent pass this first test, and are allowed into the country and given a Notice To Appear, but then only 10 per cent of these immigrants will be granted asylum, reports NBC News.

Despite the low success rate, many potential asylum seekers spend months or years living in the U.S. while awaiting their court date. During this time, they are usually held in detention facilities.

Now Trump’s administration, led by anti-immigration ideologue Stephen Miller who acts as senior advisor to the president for policy, are trying to make the process more difficult.

There are also plans to let border agents conduct interviews with asylum seekers themselves instead of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers, NBC reports.

The news comes as a judge blocked Trump’s plans to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico before their court hearing on Monday.

Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco granted a request by civil liberties groups to halt the practice while their lawsuit moves forward.

The lawsuit, on behalf of 11 asylum seekers from Central America and legal advocacy groups, says the Trump administration is violating U.S. law by failing to adequately evaluate the dangers that migrants face in Mexico.

President Donald Trump’s administration says the policy responds to a crisis at the southern border that has overwhelmed the ability of immigration officials to detain migrants.

When Trump took office, Miller helped design a ban on Muslim arrivals – a move that was ruled illegal in courts several times, until it was forcibly recast.

And he provided Trump the arguments for a campaign to lock out the Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans crossing the southern border – arguing that they are made up of rapists, murderers, human and drug traffickers and gang members.

His sway over his boss was already evident in January 2018, when he persuaded the president to renege on signing bipartisan immigration legislation.

Republicans lashed out at Miller directly for killing a painstakingly-crafted deal.

‘As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we are going nowhere. He’s been an outlier for years,’ Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, has said.