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Rescue Facts

What happens to asylum seekers at the border?

Central American families fleeing violence who are released from detention in the U.S. are often left at bus stations with scant information on what to do next as they seek asylum.

Call your Senator now and tell them it is time for Congress to put a stop to the Trump administration’s attacks on asylum seekers.

Read the full video transcript

Video Transcript

Olga Byrne:

Imagine this:

You’re forced to flee your home and everything that you know. You’ve made the decision to take your children on what you know will be a dangerous journey and you may have had to spend your life savings to do so.

And when you arrive at the U.S. border, you may have to wait in Mexico for months before you’re able to present yourself to U.S. authorities.

Once you do, you’ll be held in the infamous “icebox” detention centers.

Now asylum seekers are on their own in a system so complex it feels like it’s set up for them to fail. 

Most families are then released and allowed to continue their asylum proceedings while living in the community. But they’re often left at bus stations, even in the middle of the night, without information or guidance on what to do next. 

Because of backlogs in the immigration courts, it now takes on average three years for an asylum case to be decided.

When someone is charged with a crime in the U.S. they’re provided a lawyer. But asylum seekers are not. They must pay for their own immigration lawyer. And if they can’t afford one, they are left to argue their case on their own. Keep in mind seeking asylum is completely legal.

[The] IRC is working with partners along the border to provide support to asylum seekers.

It often starts by going to the bus station to pick up families who have been dropped off there by immigration agents. 

We’ll bring them to a shelter and make sure they’ve had a chance to eat and feed their kids.

We then help them connect with their relatives who live in the U.S. and to provide them with a legal orientation in a language they understand to be sure they understand the complicated process they will follow.

Learn more about this issue at Rescue.org.

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