Our report this month includes news about extended deadlines for asylum seekers who were not informed of application deadlines; a reversal of U.S. policy resulting in more likely detention of pregnant women; and an overview of life at the border with a section about the work of the KBI.
- Access to Asylum: In a class-action lawsuit, a U.S. District judge determined that authorities failed to inform asylum seekers of the one-year deadline for filing applications and ruled that Citizenship and Immigration Services (part of the Department of Homeland Security) must give anyone who missed their deadlines another year to apply. Further, the department must begin providing deadline notifications within 90 days of an asylum seeker’s release from custody and provide an accessible way to file within the one-year period. Many plaintiffs missed their filing deadlines because they had no court date and thus no way to file within a year. The decision is a victory for immigrants fleeing persecution who often do not have the benefit of legal counsel. Read more about this development here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/us-judge-opens-door-for-thousands-to-apply-for-asylum/2018/03/29/fc18256c-339b-11e8-b6bd-0084a1666987_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0c5ccb27d2ed.
- Detention for Pregnant Women: A recent memo from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reverses the established policy of releasing pregnant women from detention unless there is an urgent reason not to. The impact of the new directive means that pregnant women will now be subject to detention with release granted on a case-by-case basis. This new policy violates standards of humane treatment for pregnant women (who can experience undue stress, trauma, and poor medical care in detention, all of which threaten a pregnancy), and further traumatizes pregnant women seeking asylum (over the years, the KBI has accompanied and supported expectant mothers seeking asylum). More details can be found here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/immigration-customs-enforcement-pregnant-women_us_5abd07d7e4b03e2a5c7a4262.
- The Reality of the Border: This coverage of life at the U.S.–Mexico border and the toll of family separation takes readers to several border cities, and includes interviews with deported individuals and those seeking reunion with family members as well as a profile of the KBI: https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2018/04/04/what-life-us-mexico-border.