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January 24, 2019

The Stories of Migrants Risking Everything for a Better Life
By Haley Sweetland Edwards

Darileni Rodríguez, 25, left Honduras with her husband, her 3-year-old twin girls and her niece, because they didn’t have enough food. “Sometimes you go one day, two days, without eating,” she said. “I can take it, but the children can’t.” Patricia Hernández, 39, fled her town in El Salvador when she was raped and stabbed after being accused of reporting a gang murder to police. Should either qualify for asylum? What about David Maldonado, 31, a wiry construction worker who fled Honduras after gang members shot him with a 9-mm pistol, once in each leg, just above the knee, for taking a job on a construction site controlled by a rival gang? What about Luz, who fled Honduras with a fresh cesarean scar because her husband beat her so violently she feared he’d kill her next time? There are no easy policy answers to these questions, no hard-and-fast algorithm that decides whether Albertina and Yaquelin get to stay in Tennessee. What’s clear, however, is that two years into Trump’s presidency, his black-and-white approach to immigration is having a measurable effect, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. By June 2018, less than 15% of people applying for asylum were allowed to proceed through the process, down from nearly 33% a year earlier. And as of last year, the U.S. agreed to accept fewer refugees than it has in more than 40 years.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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