As immigrant families in many states wonder about how public policies will be handled by the federal government in the near future, the Obama administration has moved to ease conditions for those who are still being detained after the 2014 surge across the U.S.-Mexico border. The crisis involved the influx of high numbers of individuals seeking asylum. Detention facilities in Pennsylvania and other states were opened to house those flooding into the country. However, activists and officials have expressed concern because the conditions in such facilities are often viewed as unsafe.
The administration’s policy change will make it possible for families to be interviewed more promptly in an effort to establish their eligibility for obtaining asylum. Officials note that an immigration detention situation is not appropriate for those who can successfully support their requests for relief, and the action by President Obama will allow bonds to be posted so that those being released will return for formal proceedings. Issues of safety and risk of flight will be addressed in the process.
In spite of assurances that public safety will be considered in releasing families, there are some officials who complain that releases will create greater safety issues. However, the danger to those families being held in close quarters has been a serious concern to advocates, who indicate that the current adjustments to policy are inadequate. The issue continues to spark arguments on both sides of the situation.
A family endeavoring to prove a need for asylum might face difficulties due to challenges in understanding the English language and the process. Legal support may be important to ensure that this does not prevent a family from accurately completing applications and providing necessary documentation.