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Central American influx increases number of asylum applications

 In the past few months, the topic of asylum has been in and out of the headlines — though not because of an immigration policy set forth by the United States or other countries. Instead, asylum has been a constant talking point of the ongoing Edward Snowden saga. His leaks about NSA spying programs forced him to flee the country and into hiding. He has been applying for asylum in many countries ever since.

Asylum, though, is not a very easy status to achieve. Immigration officials in the U.S. do not simply hand out this status. You have to go through a rigorous application process that includes an interview. In addition, you have to apply within a certain amount of time after entering the country.

Last but not least, you will have to prove that you are suffering persecution in your country of origin and that your native government is unable to protect you. This persecution could be happening for a variety of reasons: political or ethnic factors are a couple of key reasons, as are religious affiliations or memberships in other groups.

According to federal data compiled by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the number of asylum applications is dramatically increasing. Anaylsts believe that an influx of Central American immigrants (specifically from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) are driving this trend. In the past five years, the number of applications has increased fourfold; and a USCIS official says that roughly two-thirds of the asylum requests come from applicants who are originally from the three aforementioned Central American countries.

Source: FOX News Latino, “Central Americans Seeking Asylum Quadrupled In Last Five Years,” July 17, 2013

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