Many residents of Massachusetts may have heard about the ongoing crisis at the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Media sources report that many migrants are attempting to enter the U.S. to escape violence in their home countries. However, claiming refugee status may be a more complicated matter than some people realize.
In order for a person to receive refugee status and apply for asylum in the U.S., they must be able to show that they were forced to flee their home country for some reason, and in particular, that they are unable to return for fear of death or injury. That said, children arriving at the border are treated differently than adults. Under the Bush administration, the U.S. enacted the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Action Act, which guarantees that children who arrive in the U.S. will not be deported without first being granted an immigration hearing.