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Border Security and Immigration Changes may keep Asylum seekers from getting their day in court Continued from page 23 in proving their identity, and the asylum officer is required to make a full and final determination as to the applicant’s credibility. Previously, the applicant needed to only show a “significant possibility” that the assertions underlying her claim were credible. Before these changes were announced, the lesson plans stated that making a full assessment of credibility was the job of the immigration judge, who the applicant sees if she passes the asylum officer’s screening. The asylum officer was tasked with assessing credibility only to determine an applicant’s eligibility for a full asylum hearing in immigration court. The 2014 lesson plan states in part (emphasis added): “Because the credible fear determination is a screening process, the asylum officer does not make the final determination as to whether the applicant is credible. The immigration judge makes that determination in the full hearing on the merits of the claim.” The revised plan explicitly states that the asylum officer should take into account “the same factors considered in evaluating credibility in the affirmative asylum context.” In short, what this means is that the applicant will effectively undergo a full asylum hearing just after arriving in the United States, with limited access to counsel while detained or the ability to obtain evidence or counseling services that will enable them to prevail. Further, an applicant is now required to credibly establish her identity by a heightened evidentiary standard – “preponderance of the evidence” – which is typically met if the asylum officer believes the evidence has more than a 50 percent likelihood of being true. According to the revised lesson plan, credible testimony alone should be enough to establish identity; however, the new plans also state that the officer may “consider information provided by ICE or … CBP.” Of course this is problematic because the transcripts from interviews conducted by CBP and ICE at the border regularly contain many errors. These changes to the asylum process are likely to have serious consequences for people facing persecution in their home countries and undermine American values including humanitarian assistance and due process. 28 Homeland Security unions testify in support of more staff but not a border “wall” Continued from page 24 officers on top that just to meet their staffing needs. A lack of Officers at ports of entry can have significant consequences for the economy with over $2.2 trillion in imports coming through the ports every year. Reardon also noted that much of the drugs seized come through our ports of entry, with 600,000 pounds of drugs seized just last year. Therefore, if the goal is stop the flow of narcotics, Congress may want to fund these positions first and foremost. Lastly, Chris Crane, the head of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, testified regarding ICE’s need for additional staffing. However, he focused more on issues related to retaliation by managers against front line agents and bemoaned the amount of paper work ICE enforcement officers have to do as opposed to being out in the field. There is significant concern about current ICE immigration enforcement agents already due to the dozens who according to the New York Times have been “charged with beating people, smuggling drugs into detention centers, having sex

America’s treatment of asylum seekers reviewed by regional human rights body Continued from page 25 with detainees and accepting bribes to delay or stop deportations.” The idea of adding more ICE agents to an agency who does not even currently require a polygraph test could be an invitation for more abuse by rogue agents. Members of Congress seemed sympathetic to the agents needs and wanted to work with them to fix morale and other issues with management. However, it remains to be seen if Congress will actually spend the billions of dollars that would be needed for these staff—especially in light of the problems related to corruption and oversight. missioner Margarette May Macaulay stated that the Commission “cannot accept” these violations and emphasized asylum seekers’ “necessary, fundamental right to due process,” and the importance of a “dignified hearing” and a “fair and judicious decision.” She also asked petitioners to provide the Commission with written guidance about what the IACHR can do immediately that would effectively address these barriers to the U.S. asylum process. Nineteen petitioning organizations, including the American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Women’s Refugee Commission, and the American Civil Liberties Union, called on the IACHR to: • Hold the United States accountable for policies inhibiting access to asylum; • Conduct a site visit to the U.S.- Mexico border; • Hold a follow up round-table dialogue with representatives of the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras, to discuss the on-going obligations these countries have to ensure the full rights of migrants, and the special protections due to asylum seekers; • Encourage CBP to address deficiencies and improve officers’ training, guidelines and practices and create specific oversight mechanisms to promote transparency and investigate complaints, in order to avoid mistreatment and abuse of migrants. Today, the international community stopped and listened to what is hap- 29 pening at the southern border of the United States. Isn’t it time policymakers in the U.S. did the same. FREE SUBSCRIPTION SIGN-UP Monthly Digital Edition Airport/Seaport Newsletter Daily Insider Newsletter Cybersecurity Newsletter CLICK HERE

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