Senators Seek Tighter Asylum Rules for Migrants as a Condition for Aid for Ukraine

Lawmakers continue their efforts to reach a bipartisan deal that would unlock billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, but as a condition for backing Biden’s request for this emergency funding, Republicans are insisting on changes to immigration policy. Specifically, their objective centers on tightening the standard that immigrants must meet when applying for asylum.

The unprecedented flow of people seeking asylum in the U.S. coupled with a desire to continue supporting Ukraine – from both parties in Congress – has brought moderate Democrats to the table on the thorny issue of immigration, and there is hope that a bipartisan deal can be reached. Senate Democrats have acknowledged that changes to border policy will likely be part of any agreement; the task now is to come up with a workable compromise around border policy.

What changes to the Biden border policy are being considered?

The key consideration for Senate Republicans is tougher standards for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, where “significant and substantial reforms to our border policy” are needed, according to Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.).

Several changes are being considered with the goal of keeping more people from the asylum path and reducing the number of migrants claiming asylum.

One potential change is around the initial asylum screening standard, where the goal is to quickly identify strong asylum claims and deport those who don’t qualify. The current standard is an immigrant’s “credible fear” of persecution in their home country – which is seen roughly as any chance above 10% – but Republican Senators may raise that bar, requiring more evidence from migrants. Another border policy option includes continuing to build Trump’s border wall. Also on the table is the option to establish safe-third-country agreements so the U.S. could send asylum seekers to other countries.

The administration has also requested $14 billion to process migrants at the border, and it is likely that at least some of that money would be included in a deal to pay for additional Border Patrol agents and immigration judges.

Speak to an Asylum Attorney in Los Angeles

Migrants seeking asylum in the United States should consider consulting a California immigration attorney before attempting to cross the border. Illegal border crossings can have a detrimental impact on one’s ability to apply for visas, asylum, permanent residency, U.S. citizenship, and other lawful immigration statuses.

Reeves Immigration Law Group works with immigrants from throughout the world to determine the best options given U.S. legislation surrounding their native country. Our team of asylum attorneys is experienced and up to date with the latest regulations allowing us to provide results-oriented guidance.

To schedule a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys in California, fill out our contact form.


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