Law Offices of Jan Joseph Bejar A P.L.C.
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New guidelines may make things more difficult for asylum seekers

Changes to the guidelines concerning what does or does not constitute a valid request for asylum may be interesting to people in California who are monitoring developments in this issue. The changes could mean that those who are seeking asylum in the United States may now find it more difficult to get their story heard. Some officials say that scenario is already taking place.

The head of the asylum division for Immigration Services recently released a memo that changed how claims concerning the threat of persecution are referred for judgment. He said that, in the past, even those claims that had only a minimal or slight possibility of success were allowed to move forward. The new guidelines state that there must be a "substantial" possibility the claim will be met with success before the applicant is allowed his or her day in court.

Opponents of the change say it creates a burden for asylum seekers that is too burdensome for many to overcome. They claim it makes the standard excessively high regarding what does or does not constitute a genuine threat or credible fear. They argue that it is contradictory to what was intended originally by legislators and say it should not be the message that is sent to those who may have a valid case.

As time passes, the facts will show if the new guidelines are unduly restrictive for those seeking asylum in California and elsewhere in the country. For those who face a genuine threat if they return to their birth country, remaining current as the laws and regulations change is integral to success. Only by understanding the situation fully can they hope to achieve success.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Feds quietly toughen standards for immigrant asylum seekers", Franco Ordonez, April 18, 2014

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