A woman carries a baby as she waits along the Irapuato-Guadalajara highway in the Mexican state of Guanajuato for a ride to Guadalajara on their trek north, on November 12.

A woman carries a baby as she waits along the Irapuato-Guadalajara highway in the Mexican state of Guanajuato for a ride to Guadalajara on their trek north, on November 12.

Tensions are high at the U.S.-Mexico border, as migrants from the caravans that captured the attention of President Trump begin to arrive. U.S. agents fired tear gas at several who were trying to cross the border on Sunday.

And the president recently floated the idea of asking asylum seekers to wait in Mexico as their claims are sorted out.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said border officials anticipate that most caravan members will make “frivolous or unsubstantiated claims of asylum,” based on “historic trends, intel and open-source reporting,”

But what does it actually mean to apply for political asylum?

Here’s more from the Union-Tribune:

To win, applicants must show how their stories line up with the legal definition for asylum, that they have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear that they will be persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a social group.

They must also show that either their country’s government is persecuting them or that the government is unwilling or unable to protect them. In this part of asylum law, the stories that come out of Central America often fall into a gray area because many are fleeing gangs extorting them or threatening to kill them.

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that “private violence” such as domestic violence or gang violence should not count for asylum and made changes to case law since the last caravan arrived to make it harder for those kinds of claims to win in court.

We’re deconstructing the process of applying for asylum.

Guests

  • Jayesh Rathod Law professor, director of the Immigrant Justice Center, American University Washington College of Law; @profrathod

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