Asylum claims along the Southern border have increased dramatically since 2013, but only a small percentage of requests are granted by the courts, according to data reviewed by The Washington Post.
Winning asylum from some judges is close to impossible – from 2013-2018, Jose Penalose Jr., in Adelanto denied 94.9% of claims while Earle Wilson and William Cassidy in Atlanta approved less than 4.3% of claims. In El Paso, judge Sunita Mahtabfar rejected 98.8% of claims during that five-year stretch.
"It's a deportation machine," Carlos Spector, a prominent El Paso immigration attorney, told the Post. "Everything in its path is a clog to be cleared."
The asylum system is meant to give immigrants a legal opportunity to live in the U.S. if they demonstrate they would face persecution, torture, or death if they returned to their countries.
The Trump administration says only 20% of asylum claims are granted, and the U.S. court system is facing a backlog of more than 900,000 immigration cases.
Customs and Border Patrol have apprehended 780,638 migrants at the Southwest border in fiscal year 2019 so far, well above the fiscal 2018 total of 521,090.
The report comes as the Trump administration continues to come under fire for its immigration policies – a federal judge in San Francisco on Wednesday blocked a new policy that sought to bar Central Americans and other immigrants from requesting asylum if they did not seek asylum in countries they had passed through on the way to the United States.
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