USA asylum through Mexico
A brief guide
Year over year hundreds of thousands of people due to an unstable situation in their home country are forced to leave it in search of a better life. One of the most suitable countries to begin a new chapter in life is the socially and economically stable United States of America.
To the USA via Mexico
It’s not easy to obtain residence the United States. Visa denial cases increase with every year. One solution is to ask for asylum at a national border – Mexico-American or Canada-American. Only Canada visa holders are able to reach Canada-American border and the visa is almost as hard to obtain as the American one. In that respect, things are easier with neighboring Mexico.
Things to take care of before a flight to Mexico
Application for Asylum at the Mexico-American border is a serious step, requiring not only considerable material expenditures but moral ones as well. The application process takes several stages to complete.
One can listen to hundreds of stories and read dozens of articles by those who managed to receive an asylum this way. But every case is unique. And there is no guarantee that advice given will be useful to you and applicable at all.
For this reason, it is better to seek for immigration lawyer professional help while working applying for asylum through Mexico. Your attorney will provide qualified answers to many questions: including a convincing story preparation, document collection and approval, and filing of essential immigration forms. The lawyer will assist in your release from a detention center, if necessary, and also can act on behalf of the applicant in court.
In particular, a U.S. immigration lawyer will help to decide the following:
- Estimation of overall chances to receive asylum on the basis of the applicant’s story;
- Compilation of trustworthy evidence of real danger to life and health at homeland;
- Scope of documents to have on hand alongside those required after the border crossing, and how to deliver them in the United States;
- Competent filling of all necessary immigration forms in conformity with constantly changing immigration office requirements;
- Family composition who will be included in the asylum application with the main applicant;
- Route to the border and choice of the best border inspection post;
- Questions related to a sponsor and a bail provision to leave the detention center;
Things to know about the Mexico-American border
The Mexico-American border is considered to be one of the most unsettled in the world. Approximately 500 thousand people illegally cross it every year. The United States border with Mexico is almost 3150 kilometers long. Most of the border goes across lifeless deserts and hardly traversable mountainous areas. Those places are the very ones where the main flow of illegal immigrants head to the USA. Many perish trying.
On the flat land, two countries are separated by massive protective facilities of concrete and metal. Infrared motion sensors are set along the border and air drones work here as well.
Four American states border Mexico: Texas, New-Mexico, Arizona, and California. Major cities along the border have twin cities on the other side of the border.
About 60 border inspection posts operate on the borderline. One may apply for asylum at any border post by expressing your request to the American officer on duty.
How to reach the Mexico-American border
The majority of flights land at the resort city of Cancun. European airlines often arrive in Mexico City or Acapulco. Unfortunately, these tourist locations are a long way from the U.S. border.
In theory, there are two options: transit by land or by air. Bus itineraries cover nearly all country’s territory. Mexican buses are fairly comfortable, and the quality of main auto routes is mostly acceptable. However, taking a brief look at the map, it becomes clear that the idea to take a bus is not reasonable. It takes about two days to drive to Tijuana or Ciudad Juares from Cancun.
Local flights in Mexico are relatively cheap. One can make it to any big border-city using them. It makes sense to pick up an inspection post of one of “twin-cities” to land on the American territory.
Those are Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Juarez, Nogales, Mexicali, and Tijuana. Your immigration attorney can determine the best city for your entry.
If the plan is to have a look at the city and stay over at a hotel, book the room beforehand and to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel.
It should be taken into account that people coming to border-towns are closely monitored by police. Mexican border-towns are troublesome places. All of them serve as key points for illegal immigrants and drug trafficking. Stay indoors during dark hours. You should be extremely vigilant and watch over documents, money, and devices all the time.
Behavior at the USA border
It won’t be difficult to get to the checkpoint on the border. Allowance should be made only for the division of the flow at several major border posts – vehicles go one way, people another way, getting through the border on foot by huge pedestrian overpasses. People are assigned different gates, sometimes located in 1-1,5 km distance.
As a rule, the Mexican side does not concern themselves with people of Caucasian race crossing the checkpoint. Mexican border guards inspect and check documents only of the Latinos. That’s why one can freely take all personal belongings and proceed to the American side of the borderline.
The next step is Passport Control, where an officer will ask for your passport and ask about the absence of American entry-visa and, explain that he cannot allow you to cross to the other side.
This is exactly the moment to express the intention to apply for USA asylum.
If the checkpoints are overcrowded, the officer may ask you to wait. The wait could last as long as 10-15 hours.
Asylum seekers are registered, inspected, and placed at a special isolation center. Note that females and males are kept separately. However, women are never separated from their children under 14 years of age
Staying at an immigration detention center
From the border zone, asylum seekers are distributed to detention centers (deportation isolation centers).
Some of the detention centers are situated near the border. But, because they are usually full, an asylee might be relocated - even to another state.
It may be that an asylum applicant will be accompanied to the center as a criminal – in handcuffs and shackles. Morally it’s rather an oppressive process.
This is one reason why the advice from an immigration lawyer on the choice of a moderately loaded border inspection point with the most favorably disposed personnel is so important.
Detention centers confinement conditions differ considerably from each other by. Several have TV sets in cells. Some are so overfilled that people have to share rooms with up to 10 people.
At the center asylees are given three meals daily. All personal belongs, including clothes are documented and taken away. They will be returned when leaving the center.
If a person has money at hand, it is automatically transferred to a special account. It can be accessed to with the use of a bracelet or a card. One can buy elementary products, hygiene supplies, and other small personal goods in the vendor kiosk at the center.
Every detained person has a right to make a phone call. The first minutes of a call are free. Because there won’t be any notebook available, the telephone number of an immigration lawyer or a friend ready to become a sponsor and to bail you out should be memorized in advance.
Work options are available at the detention centers. Usually, the jobs are as a janitor or a kitchen assistant. The salary is pitiful – not more than two dollars per day.
Some centers provide a possibility to visit a library or to keep fit at the gym.
An immigration lawyer may negotiate with the center authorities on behalf of the asylee regarding confinement conditions,.
At the detention center standard biometric protocols (fingerprints scanning and photographing) are performed.
Confinement periods for women with children is usually shorter than for men. That is also true for fathers with children in cases where a mother is absent. The expert intercession of an immigrant lawyer significantly increases a possibility of being released with a minimal bail or even without it.
USCIS Asylum officer interview
Eventually, an asylee is scheduled for an interview with an asylum officer. Here the detailed story is to be told and the claim for USA asylum must be justified. People with no knowledge of English are provided with an interpreter.
The period of detention at the center depends on the veracity of the story provided. The help of an immigration lawyer will be extremely useful, if not necessary here. His skillful speech and reasoned arguments can expedite the release and facilitate a lower bail. What is more, the presence of a lawyer at the interview is an effective means to keep an asylum officer from becoming aggressive or demonstrating a biased attitude.
Sponsor or Bond
Sometime after the interview the applicant will receive a letter indicating if they may leave the center as an asylee and on what terms (under surety or on bail).
Bond is based on to the extent to which an immigration judge believed in the story told, how convincing arguments and evidence of discrimination are in terms of threats and persecution in your home country. Bond can range from $1,000 dollars to $20,000.
One can be released from the detention center on a sponsor guarantee. Any United States citizen or a person possessing a Green Card may perform as a sponsor. The person acting as a sponsor is to have a permanent employment and own or rent accommodation.
If you are unable to obtain bond or a sponsor, to the chances are they you will continue stay at the center until you are summoned to appear at the immigration court, at which point you are likely to be sent back to your homeland.
What to do after a detention center
Control over people released from the center differs from state to state. For instance, in California a person is given a GPS-bracelet, which helps to track the asylee. However, the immigration lawyer may help to avoid such a control measure. In some states, applicant is required to report to the immigration office from time to time.
The next stage after being let out from the center is to wait for the immigration court. It’s hard to predict how long one will have to wait because the immigration office is filled with asylees’ cases.
While waiting for the court, it is good to discuss your story with the lawyer again. Maybe it can be strengthened with more proof. It is essential maintain your story with what was told at the detention center interview. Judges will pay attention to any smallest discord.
After four more months an asylee may apply for permission to work.
In court, the judge will listen to all the evidence of the matter. As a rule, there is a government attorney present at court session asking for deportation. An immigration lawyers assistance is highly important. The lawyer will be able to concentrate judge’s attention on the strength of the evidence provided.
The court will not render an immediate decision.
If it is positive, a person receives an official document granting him asylum. It gives permission to legally reside and work in the USA.
If the claim is denied, it can be appealed within one month. In that case, one more court sitting will be scheduled. If the petition for asylum is not granted, the person is to be deported to his home country.
Getting USA asylum through Mexico is possible, but it is not easy. Keep in mind that, in most cases, any wrong step will be impossible to change. Inconsiderate conduct at the border, lack of awareness of the detention center situation, naïve misconceptions about bail and a sponsor, lack of documents, or hot-headed statements during the interview with an asylum officer may lead to asylum denial.
One shouldn't rely on luck in a situation where every detail matters. Contact a professional Immigration Attorney, who knows what option is best at every point of the way. This will greatly increase chances for the positive case outcome.