It was a move that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been heavily criticized for, and will likely be heavily criticized for in the months to come. In his own interpretation of immigration law, Sessions has ordered that credible fear is no longer a valid reason for entry into the United States.
One primary example of credible fear is those leaving their home countries in fear of gang violence. The owner of a bus company in El Salvador was beaten in front of his child after denying a gang to use his bus for transportation of drugs and weapons. He was denied entry into the United States.
Another woman from Honduras was denied entry after stating that she had been verbally threatened over the phone by a gang member. Unfortunately, these are just two cases of the thousands that wait at the border trying to get to a better life for them and their families.
This is because the credible fear of gang violence, which was once considered a legitimate reason to allow immigrants into the United States, is no longer allowed. And, after Sessions’ decision, immigrant judges throughout the country are bound to the same law.
Not only do immigration judges have to disqualify threats of credible fear, but Sessions has also stated that border officials must make this part of the first interview questions immigrants face at the border. This would essentially disqualify most of them before their interview even gets started.
“It is not only reprehensible on moral grounds, it could be illegal,” states James O. Hacking, III of Hacking Law Practice, LLC. “According to international and domestic law, these claims do not need to be made at the border. And they are certainly not just reasons for keeping those looking for a safer, better life from entering our country.”
In the past, approximately 80 percent of people seeking entry into the country at the border have claimed credible fear as the reason for doing so. Now, those and more may be denied entry on those very grounds.
Unfortunately it will likely take weeks, and maybe even months, for a court challenge of this new law to be successful. In the meantime, thousands of people seeking refuge and a safe place could be affected.