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  1. UNHCR: Number of Asylum Applications Up Sharply in 2011

    A new report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ("UNHCR") shows that asylum claims in industrialized countries have increased 20% from 2010 to 2011. The United States continued to receive the most asylum seekers among the countries surveyed: approximately 74,000 asylum seekers in 2011. This compares to approximately 55,500 asylum seekers for 2010, a 33% increase (among all countries, South Africa received the most asylum seekers).
    The increase in asylum seekers to the U.S. is due largely to higher numbers from three countries: China (+20%), Mexico (+94%), and India (+241%).

    With all the new refugees, we should at least get some interesting food joints.

    The U.S. receives more asylum seekers from China than from any other country. In 2010, we received 12,850 asylum seekers from China. In 2011, we received 15,450 asylum seekers from China, an increase of 2,600 people or about 20%. The large numbers are probably due to special provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act that provide for asylum for victims of forced family planning-these provisions were created specifically to assist people from China, and they certainly seem to have encouraged Chinese nationals to seek asylum here. Indeed, of the 24,400 Chinese asylum seekers worldwide, the U.S. received about 63% of all cases. This is a very high number, given our physical distance from China. If these numbers continue to rise, I wonder whether it will cause us to re-think our decision to grant asylum to victims of forced family planning.
    The biggest numerical increase was among Mexicans seeking asylum in the U.S. In 2010, there were 4,225 asylum seekers from Mexico. In 2011, we received 8,186 asylum seekers from Mexico. I recently wrote a post where I expressed doubt about the reported increase in Mexican asylum claims. If the UNHCR report is correct, I was wrong and the number of asylum seekers has increased dramatically in the last year. We will see whether the grant rate for Mexicans-which has been about 2%-will increase with the new crop of asylum seekers. If this trend continues, it will certainly place a burden on our asylum system, and we might need to re-evaluate how we deal with the new influx.
    In terms of relative increases, India had the largest increase: Up 241% from last year (the U.S. received 720 Indian asylum seekers in 2010 and 2,457 in 2011). As far as I can tell, Indian cases are very diverse: political persecution, religious persecution, and sexual orientation, among other basis. Why the dramatic increase in India asylum seekers? I have no idea. One "push factor" that seems inapplicable to Indian cases is the economy-India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. One year does not make a trend, so we will have to wait and see how many Indian nationals seek asylum in the U.S. in 2012.
    Aside from the "big three," there were major increases from El Salvador (2010-2,703; 2011-4,011) and Guatemala (2010-2,235; 2011-3,363), and smaller increases from Honduras, Haiti, and Nepal. Rounding out the top 10 source countries for asylum seekers in the U.S. were Ethiopia (which saw a small drop in numbers) and Egypt, which appeared on the U.S. top ten list for the first time, perhaps as a result of difficulties related to the Arab Spring.
    Worldwide, the top source countries for asylum seekers were Afghanistan (approximately 35,700 asylum seekers, up 34% from 2010), China (24,400; up 13% from 2010), Iraq (23,500; up 14% from 2010, but significantly down from 2008 when there were 40,400 claims), Serbia (21,200; down 28% from 2010), and Pakistan (18,100; up 66% from last year).
    Given world population growth (there are a lot more people than there used to be), general economic malaise, and the dismal state of human rights in many countries, it is not surprising that the number of asylum seekers is increasing. How we address these problems and how we treat people who come to us for help are some of the defining issues of our time.
    Originally posted on the Asylumist:
  2. test test test test test test test test

    by , 04-11-2012 at 01:42 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    test test test test test test test test 
  3. The Unconsidered Alternative to Deportation

    by , 04-11-2012 at 10:46 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    The question has been posed whether President Obama really has done everything legally possible to put an end to the destruction of hundreds of thousands of families through deportation.  I, and many others, do not believe that he and his party have the political will to address comprehensive reform in a meaningful way.  Not in his first term.  Not in his second term.  Not ever.
    So let's take a look at what the President has done to stem the tide of his 400,000 deportations per year mandate.
    The Obama administration has reviewed approximately 150,000 pending deportation cases, moving to administratively close 1,500 of them through a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion.  Not good odds, as the amount of individuals benefiting from prosecutorial discretion is insignificant in consideration of the amount of pending deportation cases reviewed.
    The administration has also proposed a new policy that will permit the pre-adjudication of hardship waivers for individuals that are statutorily ineligible for adjustment of status due to the manner of their admission (i.e., they were not inspected and admitted a/k/a they "snuck into the country").  Of course this proposed policy won't go into effect until after the election, and is transparently being offered as a political carrot.  In reality it may be all stick.
    I say this because the waiver process is tumultuous, and submission of an application should in no way be interpreted as a guarantee that a waiver will ever be issued.  Even if a waiver is granted the individual will be required to incur great expense to leave the country simply in the exercise of tagging up in their home country for visa issuance.  Moreover, if an individual submits themselves to the pre-adjudication waiver process, and the waiver is denied, the inevitable result will be the institution of removal proceedings.
    I'm not willing to predict what percentage of waivers will ultimately be favorable adjudicated.  That being said, the percentages of people benefiting from the prosecutorial discretion memo are between 1-6% depending on who you ask.  All I know is that unless I have a client who has already had removal proceedings instituted against them it will be a hard sell to convince them to risk everything by exposing themselves to the potential liability of a denied waiver, coupled with the harsh slap of the institution of deportation proceedings.  The whip is simply much, much bigger than the carrot.
    Point being, there are alternatives that have not been considered by the Administration that in certain circumstances will negate the requirement of a waiver and the need of the individual ever departing the United States.
    Specifically, humanitarian parole, or parole in place.  President Obama has the authority to confer parole status on an individual that would render them eligible to adjust their status inside the United States.  This would eliminate the need for a waiver, which in most cases is required to cure either a three or ten year bar that is triggered upon departure due to unlawful presence inside the country.
    Parole could be granted on a case by case basis to individuals who are immediate relatives of United States citizens, and who are able to establish hardship to their relatives if they are deported.  The hardship would not have to be extreme in nature, which has been defined as more than the pain that stems from separation, and which is less than what is required for the approval of the waiver.  
    This option could be made available only to individuals with no criminal record, have established good moral character, and who are only ineligible for adjustment because they were not inspected and admitted.
    So the bottom line is that there are other options available to this President that are much better alternatives to what has been offered, and the options could be implemented IMMEDIATELY.
    If this President is serious about making good on his previously broken promise to stop the flow of deportations this would be a seriously big step in the right direction.
    And by the way, I don't want to have to wait until after the election, which is half a year away.
    Start issuing paroles this summer Mr. President.
    Don't make us wait for your second term to break another promise.
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  4. Are You an H-2B Employer Upset About the New H-2B Regulation?

    by , 04-10-2012 at 09:20 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    I'm working with an advocacy orgaization seeking examples of companies facing difficulty because of the new H-2B rules. If you have a story to tell, let me know.
  5. May 2012 Visa Bulletin Rundown

    by , 04-10-2012 at 08:58 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Thanks to Michael Portillo for the summary:
    May Visa Bulletin Summary:
    Family 1st - World numbers, China and India jumped 1 month to 01 May 05; 1 week advance for Mexico to 15 May 93; Philippines move a week to 01 July 97.
    Family 2A - World numbers, China, India, and the Philippines jumped five weeks to 15 November 09; Mexico advanced 6 weeks to 15 October 09.
    Family 2B - World numbers, China, and India jumped five weeks to 22 February 04; Mexico remains stalled at 01 December 92; Philippines remains stalled at 08 December 01.
    Family 3rd - World numbers, China, and India moved forward three weeks to 08 March 02; Mexico stalled at 15 January 93; Philippines remains stalled at 22 July 92.
    Family 4th - World numbers, China, and India jumped three and a half weeks to 01 December 00; Mexico stalled at 01 June 96; Philippines advance two weeks to 22 January 89.
    Employment 1st - still current in all categories.
    Employment 2nd - World numbers, Mexico, and Philippines still current, China and India regress Thirty-three and a half months to 15 August 07.
    Employment 3rd - World numbers, Mexico, and Philippines advanced three and a half weeks to 01 May 06; China jumped one month to 01 April 05; India moved a week to 08 September 02.
    Employment 3rd Other Workers - World numbers, Mexico, and Philippines advanced three and a half weeks to 01 May 06; China remains stalled at 22 April 03; one week advance for India to 08 September 02.
    Employment 4th - still current in all categories.
    Employment 5th - still current in all categories.
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