Archive for the ‘Asylum’ Category

With Migrants Hoping for Asylum, Illegal Border Crossings Soar in Southern Texas

April 30, 2014

Border CrossingBorder Patrol agents in Texas have seen a spike in individuals illegally crossing into the U.S. in order to petition for asylum. According to the New York Times, there has been a 69 percent increase in detentions of individuals attempting to cross into the U.S. through the Rio Grande Valley, with 90,7000 individuals detained in the last six months alone. The surge in border crossing numbers comes after six years of decline in illegal crossings.

Unlike past years, where border crossings were undertaken mainly by Mexican laborers, many of those attempting the journey are from Central America and include “many families with small children and youngsters without their parents.” These new crossers, according to the New York Times, are fleeing from their native countries due to rising poverty and extreme gang violence.

Border Patrol agent, Chris Cabrera, says that the increase in the number of individuals petitioning for asylum is because “word has gotten out that we’re giving people permission and walking them out the door.” Despite courts only approving 34 percent of asylum petitions in 2012, enough people are released pending review of their asylum petitions that friends and family in Central American countries believe that there is a good chance of staying if they can successfully cross the border.

The spike in asylum claims is significantly straining resources, overwhelming courts, asylum offices, and detention facilities. It is further frustrating border control strategies put in place by the Obama administration and possibly endangering immigration reform in the coming year.