Asylum Seekers Are Fleeing to the U.S. for Good Reasons, Meaning Deportation Brings Danger

A view of the Sonoran desert as seen through the rails of the US-Mexico border fence.

Articles of impeachment filed against President Joe Biden on June 22 (called part of a series of “baseless political stunts” by a White House spokesperson) allege that “his actions and open borders agenda [demonstrate] that he has no intention of enforcing our current immigration and border security statutes on the books.”

The latter part of this statement has an ironic grain of truth to it, but for the complete opposite reasons, the stunt-perpetuating representatives allege. It is true that the current administration is flouting “current immigration and border security statutes,” but only because policies put in place around the lapse of Title 42 continue the past administration’s policy of denying a rightful and lawfully guaranteed chance at asylum for migrants.

As described in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), current border policies institute a “rapid deportation process that dramatically alters the screening interview process for asylum seekers and wrongfully returns many back to persecution and grave danger.”

These policies are in stark contrast to the existing asylum laws in the book, which require the state to provide every asylum seeker with a “credible fear” hearing. Instead, many are deported, no questions asked, unless they sign up for a limited number of appointments on an app that doesn’t really work the way it was originally designed.

Those deported often face extreme risks, as documented by a 2020 report from asylum advocacy organization Quixote Center.

Gang Violence and Political Persecution Often Await Deportees Back “Home”

Writing during the height of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant persecution of asylum seekers, the Quixote Center documented several examples of individuals being exploited and murdered following their deportation out of the United States, often being forced back into corrupt regimes or regions overrun by militant gangs.

Examples they document include:

  • Javier B., 23, who fled gang violence at 17, was deported in 2017 and was killed by gangs just four months later while living with his grandmother.
  • Walter T. and Gaspar T., who were deported to El Salvador in 2019. They and their roommates were abducted by a corrupt police patrol unit “without a warrant and without a reason,” where they were beaten repeatedly while facing fictional charges.

All told, El Salvador — one of the most common places migrants are deported to — accounts for more disappearances and murders than the country’s period of open civil war, says Quixote Center. Nevertheless, around 110,000 people were deported here over the short period from 2014 – 2018.

Sikhs and Other Indians Fleeing Persecution and Extremism at High Risk if Deported

Referring to a 2020 article by The Guardian, the Quixote Center also points out how many of the individuals currently being encountered by border enforcement personnel are now Indian. Tens of thousands have fled the country since the rise of the nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, led since 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As covered by The Guardian, individuals face violence, threats, and seizure of their rightful properties by extremists operating under the tacit permission of the BJP — or, sometimes, directly as paid party members or members of corrupt law enforcement.

“If you look at when this uptick began, it really stems from when the BJP came into power,” immigration lawyer Deepak Ahluwalia told The Guardian in 2020.

Since that time, hate crimes have surged, while riots and other tragic events have left members of religious minorities maimed and murdered.

Under current policies, those caught at the border and deported without an asylum hearing also face a stiffer penalty: they won’t be able to apply for asylum for a period of at least 5 years. Should people be forced to return to India, they are likely to be blackmailed by corrupt local law enforcement and officials or to become the target of extremist gangs encouraged by BJP policies and rhetoric.

Get Help Seeking Asylum and Fulfilling Other Goals From a U.S. Immigration Lawyer

Despite dramatically softening the rhetoric surrounding immigration, the current White House administration has intensified policies that risk sending vulnerable people back to the very dangers they were fleeing from.

If you find yourself in this situation, or you fear for a loved one for similar reasons, reach out to U.S. immigration attorneys in California who can provide assistance. Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law are here to help you and give you accurate advice and fearless legal representation. Schedule a no-obligation and confidential case review today when you contact us online or by phone.