Immigrants applying for asylum in the United States who had their applications rejected over a “no blank space” policy under the Trump administration will be given a second chance, thanks to a new settlement.
Long-time immigration attorneys began complaining in 2019 that asylum cases were being rejected for a novel, pedantic reason: irrelevant lines on the application being left blank. Some asylum-seekers had their cases rejected because they listed two siblings, for example, but did not write “N/A” in the remaining spaces provided for brothers and sisters they did not have. Spanish speakers had their applications turned away for not spelling out their name, for a second time, in a “native alphabet.”
More than 60,000 applications were rejected for such reasons, according to the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, which filed a November 2020 lawsuit over the policy change, alleging that was a mere bureaucratic pretext for denying humanitarian relief.
In July 2021, a US federal judge approved a settlement in that case. Under the agreement, US Citizenship and Immigration Services will allow and provide rejected applicants a chance to apply again by July 20, 2022, with their application backdated to the time their initial claim was rejected.
USCIS said this month it will notify anyone who might be eligible.
“It was an outrageous policy clearly aimed to impede individuals from obtaining the humanitarian benefits that Congress has provided,” Matt Adams, legal director at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said in a statement. “It aptly demonstrates the Trump administration’s utter disregard of the law.”
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Story culled from MSN News