How The New Transit Ban May Impact Political Asylum In Florida

political asylum in Florida

With the end of Title 42, those seeking political asylum in Florida are facing new challenges. Here, we outline the new rules and how the transit ban may affect U.S. immigration.

On May 11, 2023, the pandemic-era immigration policy known as Title 42 expired. Title 42 allowed U.S. officials to turn away those seeking political asylum in Florida or any border state for public health reasons. Now that the Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 has ended, immigration policies have reverted to pre-pandemic standards. What does this mean for immigrants seeking refuge in the United States?

What Is The Transit Ban?

Also called the “three-country rule,” the “transit ban” allows U.S. border officials to turn away non-Mexican immigrants seeking asylum unless they can prove that they applied for and were denied asylum in a country they traveled through to get to the United States. This rule does not apply to unaccompanied minors, and there are exemptions for adult immigrants.

If immigrants cannot prove that they applied for and were denied asylum in a country they passed through en route to the U.S., they can be deported to Mexico or their home country. They are also subject to expedited removal, which bans them from attempting to enter the U.S. for five years. They could face prosecution and jail time if they try to re-enter during this time.


One avenue of bypassing the transit ban is scheduling an appointment to appear at a U.S. port of entry. Immigrants can use the Customs and Border Patrol’s CBP One smartphone app to schedule these appointments. 

The app was launched in 2020 and only applies to land-border points of entry in Texas, California, and Arizona. It also has its share of technical issues. The Texas Tribune interviewed many immigrants who stated that the app frequently crashes due to the number of users trying to schedule appointments. 

Current Avenues To Political Asylum In Florida

With the reinstitution of the pre-pandemic-era transit ban, there are still a few routes to lawful immigration into the U.S. via Florida.

Affirmative Asylum

To apply for affirmative asylum, an immigrant must be physically present in the U.S. and application must occur within one year from arrival. After submitting the proper forms, immigrants can live in the United States while awaiting the evaluation of their cases.

Asylum Merits Interviewpolitical asylum in Florida

When an individual seeking political asylum has been placed in expedited removal, they can request an interview with USCIS. In this Asylum Merits interview, they can express their concerns about what may happen if they are returned to their country. Persecution, torture, and other fears may qualify an individual for a credible fear screening by the USCIS. 

If the interview determines that these fears are legitimate, the USCIS will typically perform one of two actions:

  • Keep the asylum application and decide if there is eligibility for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) in a secondary interview.
  • Issue a Notice To Appear appointment with an immigration judge.

Defensive Asylum

Immigrants can request Defensive Asylum if they are in removal proceedings resulting from the following:

  • Determination of ineligibility for asylum after Affirmative Asylum proceedings
  • Being apprehended at a U.S. port of entry without proper documentation or in violation of immigration status
  • After being apprehended by CBP without proper documentation, the individual was placed in the expedited removal process and found to have a credible fear of being sent back to their home country

The process of Defensive Asylum allows individuals to have legal representation when they go before an immigration judge. The judge will decide the individual’s eligibility for asylum. Either party can appeal this decision.

Immigration Is Complex – Casais & Prias Can Help

Immigration law is changing almost every day. Contact us today if you or a family member needs legal help gaining political asylum in Florida. Our team of skilled and experienced immigration attorneys can guide you through the asylum process.

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