Immigration agents not following the law on asylum seekers

A new report, from a US government commission set up to make recommendations on federal policies, contains several anecdotes and inconsistent experiences from refugees and asylum seekers. This suggests that immigration agents are ignoring the law by immediately putting such people onto an expedited process to have them removed from the US even if they claim to have a credible fear of the consequences of being sent home.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom report follows-up a two-volume report published over a decade ago. It shows that immigrants are still faced with many of the same barriers from 2005, including hostile and skeptical agents, a dearth of official interpreters, and failure to refer on to other agencies.

Refugees and asylum seekers have a legal right to claim humanitarian relief, either in the US or at the border, if they can prove valid reasons for staying in the country. US law states that Customs and Border Protection needs to document the fears expressed by refugees or asylum seekers and then give the details of their file to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is responsible for assessing the claim.

However, researchers have discovered that initial interviewers often send immigrants back to their home country without sending the files to the correct immigration agencies. Thomas J Reese, the chair of USCIRF, says that Border Patrol agents have no right to act as judge and jury.