Asylum Requests Denied for 57% of Nicaraguans Who Applied

Of the 6,708 cases presented between January 2018 and May 2023, 3,844 have been denied by immigration judges and 2,680 approved.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – US immigration judges have denied 3,844 – or 57% – of the 6,708 asylum requests presented by Nicaraguans between January 2018 and May of 2023. The data was collected by the University of Syracuse’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a non-partisan organization based in Washington D.C that gathers, researches, and distributes statistics.

The data was compiled from public information regarding appearances and verdicts from the US Immigration Courts.

Texas is the state with the highest number of court appearances to request political asylum, with a total of 307. It’s followed by California with 295; Florida with 179; Illinois with 92; New York with 70; and Louisiana with 63 petitions.

The report indicates that during the current Federal fiscal year that runs from October 1, 2022 to September 30 2023, to date 1,438 Nicaraguans have appeared at court hearings asking for asylum. Of these, 724 (50.3%) were denied, 704 (48.9%) were approved, and in ten instances a different form of relief was offered. The migrants had legal assistance 81% of the time.

It’s estimated that over 350,000 Nicaraguans have entered the United States irregularly in the past six years. According to the reports from US Customs and Border Patrol, between 2020 and the first part of 2023 alone, 329,555 Nicaraguans were apprehended. Adding to this number are the over 20,000 Nicaraguans who have been able to migrate this year via the humanitarian parole system.

The accelerated migration of the past few years has been driven by the socio-political crisis that exploded in Nicaragua in April 2018. This, in turn, generated widespread repression from the dictatorship, the banishing of dissidents, human rights violations, skyrocketing unemployment, and the lack of opportunities for Nicaraguans to improve their quality of life.

Youth the majority of the asylum seekers

The data made available offered a demographic profile of those seeking political asylum, the majority of them under 35. Of the 1,438 cases presented in 2023, 370 involved Nicaraguans from 25 – 34 years old; 203 were between 18 and 24; and 279 were younger than 17.  There were 216 cases filed by Nicaraguans between 35 and 44 years old; 367 ranged from 45 to 60 and three cases of people over 60.

Confidencial also analyzed the data regarding political asylum from the four nationalities who were included this year in the humanitarian parole program. Our analysis revealed that the percent of approved asylum applications from Venezuela and Cuba, which have faced longer-running humanitarian crises, was greater than the percentage from Nicaragua or Haiti.

According to the TRAC tool, Venezuela has the highest percentage of approved asylum requests. During the current Federal fiscal year, 2,658 Venezuelan asylum seekers have appeared in US Immigration Court and 1,969, or 79%, of their cases have been approved.

Meanwhile, 488 Cubans attended hearing in US Immigration Courts, and 297 of them (60.8%) were approved.  In contrast, 537 Haitians appeared in Immigration Court to request asylum, but 371 of these requests, (69%) were denied.

In terms of the chief countries whose citizens were issued deportation orders since October 2022, Honduras was first with 34,973 citizens ordered deported; followed by Guatemala with 32,218; Mexico with 18,092; Nicaragua with 13,344; and El Salvador with 12,137. 

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times