When many Maryland residents think about illegal immigration, they picture Mexican nationals crossing the border and looking for work after evading immigration authorities. In reality, that kind of illegal immigration doesn’t take place as often as it used to. Today, most of the undocumented immigrants that cross the border are families from Central America that are seeking asylum.
Asylum seekers who enter the U.S. don’t try to sneak around Border Patrol stations. In fact, most asylum seekers turn themselves in to Border Patrol and ask for their asylum cases to be heard as soon as they arrive in the U.S. Immigration authorities have a legal obligation to protect migrants with asylum claims from deportation until a decision has been made in each individual case.
In 2014, a record number of Central American families crossed the border looking for asylum, and immigration detention centers were filled with mothers and children. Though the Obama administration was planning to process the cases quickly so that the migrants could be deported, it turned out that 86 percent of the asylum claims were credible. Most of the Central American families were able to prove that they had a credible fear of returning to their home countries, where homicide rates are among the highest in the world.
Asylum seekers may have a better chance of having their case approved if they have representation from an attorney. One of the first things that an attorney can do to help their situation is to negotiate for their release from an immigration detention center. If a migrant’s asylum case is not approved, an attorney may help the individual to appeal the decision or apply for other forms of deportation relief.