Approval of asylum for immigrant minors varies by state

Unaccompanied immigrant minors looking to gain asylum in the United States may have more chance of achieving their goal in some states than they do in others. Minors who submit their applications in regional offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco are more likely to have asylum officers approve their request than those in Houston or Chicago, according to the Associated Press.

Undocumented immigrant minors from Central America have been arriving in the United States in record numbers over the course of the last two years and many US shelters have been overwhelmed, with the country’s already backlogged immigration courts clogged up even further. Minors can apply for asylum as a way to stay in the country by demonstrating they are in danger of persecution in their own nation, as well as by undertaking an interview in one of the eight regional offices of US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Of the nearly 5,800 undocumented immigrant minors dealt with since May 2014, as of January this year 37 per cent were given asylum, but at a dramatically varying rate between offices.

The San Francisco office, which covers applications from a large part of the Pacific Northwest, granted asylum 86 percent of the time, but just 15 per cent were approved for asylum in Chicago, which deals with as many as 15 states, including Ohio and Idaho.

53 per cent were given asylum in Los Angeles, which covers areas in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada, but Houston approved just 15 per cent for states including Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. Immigration lawyers argue that that such disparity between states should not be so extreme.