Asylum is an important form of international protection that can assure the safety and well-being of individuals who have fled their homeland because of a well-founded fear of persecution due to their race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a social group. According to the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees at the end of 2017, some 3.1 million people were waiting for a decision on their asylum claims. In recent years efforts to restrict access to asylum have increased in the United States. During this period the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) here have emphasized the importance of maintaining an asylum process that allows everyone who is seeking asylum to have the opportunity to have their cases heard and decided through a fair procedure. In this vein, Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, Texas and Chairman for the USCCB’s Committee on Migration recently reinforced this point as he joined other national Catholic leaders in urging “all governments to abide by international law and existing domestic laws that protect those seeking safe haven and ensure that all those who are returned to their home country are protected and repatriated safely.”
For more information on asylum, please check out our asylum resources on the Justice for Immigrants website.