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New asylum process creates difficulties

People in other countries in less fortunate circumstances often view places like Washington, D.C. as the answer to their prayers -- a place where they can live safely without fear for their lives. As such, they make plans to seek asylum in the United States. Unfortunately, some people argue that a new program recently put into place makes the process of making such requests much more complicated.

The program began in January and is called Migrant Protection Protocols. Though some groups have requested a judge to place a restraining order on aspects of the program, a hearing has yet to be held, meaning that the plan is in full force. However, some reports claim that a recent hearing, known as a master calendar hearing, reveals some issues with the program.

As part of the program, some people seeking asylum must remain in Mexico while they wait for their hearing; as of early March, 240 individuals seeking asylum were forced to return to Mexico. Some reports criticize this requirement, claiming that it makes it more difficult for those seeking safety in the United States to obtain legal representation. The fact that they have no fixed address makes it more difficult to notify them of court dates. Additionally, the judge in a recent hearing claims that his afternoons are filled with master calendar hearings, making in necessary to hold merit hearings in the morning; because asylum seekers are in Mexico, they must go through customs, a process that reportedly takes four hours according to a representative Immigration and Customs Enforcement, making morning hearings "out of the question."

The judge has asked attorneys to submit a written explanation for why those seeking asylum cannot attend hearings in the morning. Even without the complications that some people in Washington, D.C. and across the country claim these unprecedented changes create, the process of seeking a new start in the United States is often a difficult one. As such, many people want an attorney on their side who can help them understand the requirements and the process they are facing.

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