16 December 2013, 16:47

US seeing surge in Central American asylum seekers

By Rob Sachs

WASHINGTON (VOR)– The US is seeing a surge in asylum seekers.

As the congress tries to work out measures for immigration reform, there's a new wrinkle to whom America should let into its borders - specifically asylum keepers. There's been a sevenfold increase in those seeking asylum from Central America, because they live in credible fear in their homelands. But some critics say this may be part of a larger immigration scam.

Bill Hing is a professor of law at the University of San Francisco who focuses on Immigration and refugee policy. He tells host Rob Sachs "Those countries continue to have a very high level of violence, political and also related to issues such as drug trafficking and other crime. So there's definitely a level of violence that many people are caught in the crossfire over."

As for fraud, Professor Hing thinks that issue has been blown out of proportion in fact he says he thinks the overall the burden of proof may be too cumbersome, considering how many people are in real danger in their home countries. He tells Sachs, "In spite of the fact that there are some cases here and there of asylum fraud, I really do think that the benefit of the doubt should be given to the asylum applicants because of what's at stake if a mistake is made."

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