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Central American Women Face Unique Barriers to Winning Asylum

Central American Women Face Unique Barriers to Winning Asylum

Since 2014, an estimated 160,000 family units, mostly consisting of women and children, have crossed the U.S. border, in most cases to flee the increasing violence of Central American countries. Winning asylum is always difficult, but a recent Huffington Post article focused on the unique barriers that Central American women face as she is pursuing an asylum claim in the U.S. When an immigrant pursues an asylum claim at the border, he or she first must undergo a “credible fear” interview so that immigration officials can perform an initial assessment of the claim. The problem is that many Central American women speak only one of more than 100 indigenous languages, rather than speaking Spanish. These women are unlikely to speak Spanish fluently, and there is often no one available to communicate with them in their native language. As a result, the women are unable to effectively explain their situation or understand the asylum process as it proceeds in Spanish. Although the U.S. government has fast-tracked 114,000 of these cases since 2014 that involve Central American women and children, the results have been less than successful. A quarter of these cases were denied asylum, and 1.6 percent received relief from an immigration judge. The rest of the cases remain pending. Many of these cases involve individuals who only speak an indigenous language; this year alone, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that an average of 31 families who were indigenous language speakers were detained at each of the three U.S. family detention centers. ICE also has recorded 28 different indigenous languages spoken by detained immigrants since late last year. The majority of the languages are native to Guatemala, with the remainder of the indigenous languages coming from Central America and Mexico. The barriers to asylum that any immigrants face are immense, but they become almost insurmountable when asylum proceedings are being conducted in a language that you don’t speak or understand. When you or a loved one is charged with deportation, Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. is here to help. Our California deportation defense lawyers care about your future, as well as that of your family. We want you to be able to remain in the U.S. with your family, in peace and safety. As a result, we will be at your side throughout all aspects of the removal process, and work closely with you to build the strongest possible deportation defense case. Call your Oakland immigration lawyer today and learn about asylum and other potential defenses to your removal charges.

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