HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is making national headlines for transporting 50 Venezuelans seeking asylum to Martha’s Vineyard. Some praise the decision, while others call it a political stunt.
Immigration attorney Zaira Solano said seeking asylum in the United States is a legal human right authorized by the Department of Homeland Security. It allows people to leave their country fearing that they or their family are in danger.
The application process, however, is long and arduous.
“Right now it takes over five years to get an interview and a decision,” she says. “People who are already in the United States seeking asylum and have nothing to do with their detention, there are many cases that are being denied.”
Solano also says that in many cases migrants are trying to establish a connection with family already in the United States. If their cases are not granted by a judge, they receive an eviction notice. Alabama does not have an immigration court to hear asylum claims, instead they are sent to the nearest courts in Memphis, New Orleans or Atlanta.
“In Atlanta, Atlanta Immigration Court, for someone who has an active deportation case against them,” she continued. “They’re applying for asylum as a form of relief, Atlanta has one of the lowest approval rates in the entire country and that’s just at about 2% of all applications.”
This is the case of Keith Cornett, an immigration lawyer in Huntsville, who claims that one of his clients is at risk of deportation.
“A person came in and ran away because his father had been violent. Well, that in itself is not grounds for asylum. Asylum is, you know, you want to be persecuted because of your politics, your religion, etc. And she just had a situation with her parents.
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