The tension at the southwestern United States border has many Americans asking questions about who is trying to enter the country and what makes them willing to risk it all to build a new life in the United States. As we look more closely at waves of immigrants seeking access to the U.S., some surprising patterns emerge. While the number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. has been on a steady decline, the number of foreigners seeking asylum is at an all-time high.
Citing the need for hard and aggressive anti-immigration policies, the President often refers to what he calls the “crisis of illegal immigration.” However, the numbers paint a very different picture. According to Pew Research Center estimates, the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States has declined continually since its peak in 2007. During that year, there were 12.2 million undocumented immigrants in the country compared to 10.7 million in 2016.
Other data supports this decline. In 2000, federal immigration officers detained between 71,000 and 220,000 foreign nationals entering the country without permission every month. In 2018, agents apprehended around 20,000 to 40,000 people every month. Looking at the overall population of aspiring immigrants at the border, fewer Mexicans are seeking entry while the number of Central Americans hoping to enter the United States is on the rise.
Rise in Asylum Applicants
Although the number of unauthorized individuals entering the country is down, the number of those seeking asylum protection is up significantly. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security released new data on asylum seekers. Reports show that the number of asylum seekers has risen 70 percent since 2017.
Foreign nationals seeking asylum cite the fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinions, or affiliation with a political group as reasons for requesting protection. Sixty percent of asylum seekers arrive at the border with family members.
For many asylum seekers, their hopes of living in the U.S. will never be realized. Because of the current backlog of cases sitting in immigration courts, many asylum seekers wait years to get in front of an immigration judge. Last month, the President put a ban on unauthorized foreign nationals from seeking asylum. A federal court quickly issued a temporary restraining order against these regulations. The ban is currently in appeals court, and its future and that of the thousands of people seeking asylum is uncertain.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Advocate for Asylum Seekers
Those fleeing gang violence, persecution, and discrimination have real cause to apply for protection. The Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. offer assistance to men, women, and children with pressing immigration matters. To learn more about the assistance available to you, call 215-925-4435, or use the convenient online form to contact us today. Located in Center City Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania and nationwide.