Migrant children
Only 5% of asylum claims are granted in New York. AFP

New York's federal asylum office granted the lowest percentage of approvals among the handful of offices in the United States, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Human Rights First cited in a New York Times investigation, which, along with testimonies from migrants and specialist lawyers, shows that it is one of the most "hostile" states for obtaining refugee status.

In 2020, when 28 percent of asylum claims were granted nationally, only 5 percent of decisions in New York were approvals, the outlet added in the article titled "New York Is the Toughest Place in the Country to Apply for Asylum."

The New York Times interviewed a dozen immigration lawyers and 10 current or former asylum seekers familiar with the New York office who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, who agreed that it has long been known for being especially strict.

The New York office's denial rate results in a significant number of cases being referred to the immigration courts for costly and lengthy processing. However, nearly nine out of ten claims are granted by judges, according to data analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

Being granted asylum in the U.S. is not easy. The applicant must prove that they meet the definition of a refugee as set forth in the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

This means that they have suffered persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, and that they have a well-founded fear of being persecuted if they return to their country of origin.

Joe Biden
A newly announced executive order would shut down the border after a daily threshold is met. AFP

The application involves gathering strong evidence that the asylum seeker is who he or she claims to be and that he or she has been persecuted, which may include police records, medical reports, or testimony from people in his or her home country.

The system is lengthy and exhaustive in making a decision, especially in New York, where so far this year the asylum office has already received 25,000 asylum claims, as per the article.

Nearly 200,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since the spring of 2022, and the city is struggling to cope with the growing influx of people, overwhelming the shelter system. More than 65,000 are still under the city's care, according to ABC News.

President Joe Biden announced an executive order this week that will essentially shut down the border after a daily threshold is reached, which experts say could reduce the influx into the states most affected by the increased immigration-related turmoil.

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