With thousands of Central American migrants headed to the U.S.-Mexico border, a longtime immigration law expert says current law will actually allow them to enter the United States and facilitate many of them staying here.
The law does not intend for most of them to stay. Center for Immigration Studies Research Fellow Andrew Arthur says the law is actually designed to remove them as soon as possible.
They’re supposed to be placed into expedited removal proceedings. Expedited removal allows a [Department of Homeland Security] to remove an alien without having to present that alien to an immigration judge or put that alien through removal proceedings,” said Arthur.”
But there’s a complication. Many migrants from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are planning to seek asylum, claiming that their governments are persecuting them. Arthur says 75-90 percent of such claims are deemed credible and are them scheduled to be heard before an immigration judge.
As they wait, law currently prohibits alien minors from being held longer than 20 days, so the only options are to separate families or to release everyone and hope the migrants show up for their court dates.
Arthur says that means many of the migrants will get to stay.
“Our ability to detain families is very limited and there are a large number of families that are a part of this caravan. Unless something changes. most of these folks will end up getting released and they’ll end up getting exactly what they wanted when they left their hometowns,” said Arthur.
Listen to the full podcast as Arthur explains why complaints of high crime and violence are not enough to merit asylum and why the migrants turned down asylum offers from Mexico.