A person who enters onto American soil may seek asylum by demonstrating that they may suffer persecution in their home country. Asylum exists to offer safe harbor to individuals who have suffered under the policies of their governments because of their beliefs and traits. Across Illinois, individuals have made better lives for themselves and their loved ones in the U.S. after leaving their oppressive and potentially dangerous homelands.
However, the rules that currently govern asylum in the country may be about to change. The federal government has announced that very soon individuals who cross through third countries - being countries that are not the United States or the individuals' home countries - may not apply for asylum when they reach the United States. Instead, they must seek refugee status while they are still in the third country.
The difference between being an asylum seeker and a refugee is a matter of location. Under current policies anyone who reaches American soil may seek asylum as they have already made it into the country. Refugee status is given to individuals who wish to enter the United States because of persecution but who have not yet crossed the border.
The proposed third country rule will greatly affect individuals who are coming to the United States through Mexico from Central American nations. They will effectively be stopped in Mexico where they must deal with the legal process of seeking refugee status because they crossed through a third country. As American policy toward immigration changes it is important that individuals stay on top of the legal issues that may affect their legal statuses. Their immigration attorneys can be consulted for help with understanding these and other immigration law issues.