Increase in asylum seekers being released

Because Arizona is a state that borders with Mexico, it is often one of the first places that people come to when trying to enter the United States from Mexico, Guatemala or other countries in Central America. Immigration is therefore an important topic to people in Arizona as is the treatment of immigrants and the process they must go through in order to seek and be granted asylum

As explained by KTAR, in 1997 the Flores Agreement was enacted into law and mandated that immigrants seeking asylum be detained for no longer than 20 days after first entering the U.S. For a person wishing to be granted asylum, they must first be questioned by officials from Immigrations and Customs Services.

If the immigrant passes that set of questions, their case is sent on to be heard by an immigration judge. It is then up to the judge to determine whether or not that person's request for asylum is granted or denied. In the past year, the number of migrants coming into Arizona has increased. At the border crossing at Yuma, for example, it is estimated that twice the number of people are entering the U.S. presently versus at the same time in 2017.

The large number of immigrants appears to be posing challenges for authorities who may not be able to complete initial questioning for asylum seekers within the 20-day limit of detention under the Flores Agreement. As such, large numbers of immigrants are being taken to local churches or otherwise released from custody while their cases are still pending.


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