A United States court of appeals for the 9th Circuit made a ruling on 7th March 2019 in reference to asylum seekers who had their cases rejected. According to the three-judge panel, asylum seekers have a right to their rejected cases reviewed by a federal judge in specific circumstances. Immigrants who do not pass their credible fear interviews are usually put on the deportation process.
However, thanks to the recent ruling, the applicants can now appeal to a federal judge to review the process and the legal procedure that the government used to make the ruling on whether the individual is facing credible fear. The credible fear interview is usually the initial step that an asylum seeker goes through to determine if they are likely to face torture or persecution if they go back to their home country.
Courts are fast becoming the only means by which fairness can be achieved when conducting these cases. This is because the trump administration has been continuously dismissing the fact that most of these cases are genuine and the asylum seekers are in dire need of safety as they are most likely to face persecution or even death once they step in their home country.
The ruling came after a lawsuit was filed by Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, who was apprehended near the San Ysidro port of entry in California in 2017. His case was conducted by the U.S asylum agents who established that he had no credible fear of going back to his native country. However, he claimed that he faced kidnap, torture, and threats from the Sri Lankan government intelligence for supporting a specific political candidate. An immigration judge upheld the credible fear finding, and in 2018, Thuraissigiam sued in federal court, alleging the process violated his constitutional rights.
From January 2018, the number of reviews conducted by the immigration judges to determine if an individual has credible fear has dropped significantly. This has been the trend since Trump became president. He has been and remains vocal in his desire to end immigration in America including family-based immigration terming it as chain migration. However, this new ruling has brought hope to many asylum seekers as it increases scrutiny on a delicate process by which thousands of lives depend on. Using the correct standard when determining the need to grant a person asylum will ensure legitimate cases do not get ignored.