asylum

NPR's Planet Money has learned that more than 13,500 immigrants, mostly Chinese, who were granted asylum status years ago by the U.S. government, are facing possible deportation.

As the Trump administration turns away asylum-seekers at the border under more restrictive guidance issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Executive Office for Immigration Review are considering stripping asylum status from immigrants who won it years ago.

Alfredo Zuniga / AP via Miami Herald

Nicaragua’s political violence is now forcing people to flee – and many are coming to South Florida. Organizations here are helping them find ways they can stay here.

In May, Lourdes walked across the bridge from Mexico to El Paso, Texas, and requested asylum. The first step is an interview with an asylum officer.

"I told him that I have the evidence on me," Lourdes said, through an interpreter. She told the asylum officer about the scar on her arm, and the four missing fingers on her left hand — all evidence, she says, of a brutal attack by a gang in her native Honduras.

But the asylum officer rejected her claim.

"I don't know what happened," Lourdes said. "I don't know how I failed."

The Trump administration is taking steps to limit who gets asylum in the United States, and immigration lawyers are warning that thousands of people who fled violence and persecution in their home countries could be turned away.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is using his authority to reshape the law on who qualifies for asylum, and whether they get a hearing in court. Sessions has intervened in two cases that could have big implications for people who come to the U.S. and seek asylum.

The European Union's top court has ruled that psychological tests cannot be used to assess asylum applications from those facing persecution in their home countries due to their sexuality.

Such tests amount to "a disproportionate interference in the private life of the asylum seeker," the European Court of Justice announced on Thursday.

Three years ago, Maira fled El Salvador, crossed into the United States illegally and asked for asylum. She says her partner of 12 years was abusive, physically and emotionally, and that she has scars on her body to prove it.

But she's waited a long time for her asylum hearing in New York.

Roberto Koltun / Miami Herald

Typically, when people are in the court system they want their cases heard as quickly as possible. But asylum requests are different.