Last month, a senior government official revealed the current administration is considering cuts to the annual cap on the number of refugees allowed entry into the United States next year. The cuts proposed for 2020 are in addition to significant cuts the President has already made since taking office.
While the decision on a cap for 2020 is not yet final, the official did acknowledge the administration has already reassigned several case workers from the refugee backlog to manage asylum requests for families seeking relief at the border.
Asylum and Refugee Status
The United States offers a form of humanitarian relief to individuals who feel their homeland is dangerous for a host of reasons. Refugee status and asylum are granted to those who have experienced persecution or fear they will be persecuted if they return home because of their:
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinion
While the terms are often used interchangeably, there is one significant difference between refugee status and asylum. That difference lies in where the seeker initiates the application process.
Applicants outside of the United States apply for refugee status at the appropriate agency – usually a United States embassy. The embassy assists applicants in gathering the necessary documentation, completing the application, and even relocation once approved.
Individuals already in this country or at a port of entry seek asylum. With a few exceptions, the individual seeking asylum must complete their application within a year of entering the United States. The qualified immigration lawyers in Philadelphia at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are also an invaluable resource for guiding asylum seekers through every step of the process.
Looming Changes to the Refugee Program
As the government considers several options for reducing refugee caseloads, including ending the program entirely, men, women, and children seeking entry are left wondering what their future holds. While one top administration official recommends eliminating the refugee program altogether, others have their own recommendations for reducing the caseload of refugee applications.
One option would give the President the authority to admit refugees on an emergency basis. Another would cut the current cap by half, permitting just 10,000 to 15,000 admissions every year and even then, only from certain countries. Any significant cap on refugees would effectively change the United States position as one of the countries leading the world in accepting refugees.
Surin & Griffin, P.C.: Immigration Lawyers in Philadelphia Help Clients Seeking Humanitarian Protection in the United States
If the cap goes through, refugee status will become even more elusive for those seeking protection from persecution in their country of origin. If you have questions about potential restrictions or any aspect of the refugee or asylum process, contact a knowledgeable immigration lawyer in Philadelphia at Surin & Griffin, P.C. We advocate for you and your family in this ever-changing climate of more stringent immigration policies in the United States. This is not the time to leave your immigration matter to chance.
Call 215-925-4435 or contact us online to schedule a consultation in our Center City Philadelphia office. Surin & Griffin’s team of caring immigration lawyers serves clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania and nationwide.