US immigration system faces new challenge from asylum seekers

With the difficulty of crossing the border into the United States or climbing the border fence undetected increasing, a growing number of immigrants are heading for official ports of entry to seek asylum. This has resulted in border enforcement being faced with a new challenge.

The growth of those without legal status or those barred from the United States and caught at ports of entry has been as high as 30 percent since 2010 on the south-west’s borders four field offices of El Paso, Laredo, San Diego and Tucson, according to data obtained by the Arizona Daily Star. The name given to such immigrants is ‘Inadmissible’.

The majority of the rise results from the increasing amount coming via Laredo. This is now the busiest of the four offices with around 50,000 individuals having gone through the Texas port just two months before the end of the current fiscal year, increasing from 24,500 in 2010. The number of Guatemalan immigrants arriving at ports of entry in Tucson has increased from just 28 six years ago to as many as 2323, though traffic has remained steady as the number of Mexicans crossing the US border has fallen.

Immigrants who go to an official crossing and turn themselves in saying they are afraid of going back to their home country set in motion the process of asylum, which can go on for between three to six years and put further strain on immigration courts.