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May 26, 2021

Many wait uneasily as Biden unwinds key Trump asylum policy
By Elliot Spagatt

Many asylum-seekers whose claims were denied for failure to appear in court say they were kidnapped in Mexico. Others were too sick or afraid to travel to a border crossing in a dangerous city with appointments as early as 4:30 a.m. Human Rights First, an advocacy group, tallied more than 1,500 publicly reported attacks against people subject to the policy. Difficulty finding attorneys from Mexico meant few had legal representation, contributing to a measly 1.6% grant rate among cases that were decided. U.S. authorities gave asylum-seekers a list of low- or no-cost attorneys but phones rang unanswered and messages were unreturned. Then there are about 6,700 asylum-seekers like Lazo whose cases were dismissed, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. It was usually after judges found the government erred applying the policy. Many were returned to Mexico indefinitely, some after U.S. authorities filled out forms with fake court dates to make sure Mexico took them back.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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