China’s Muslim Uighurs Are Stuck in U.S. Immigration Limbo
Hundreds of Chinese Uighurs awaiting asylum in the US are stuck in China. Roughly two years ago, the American public was made aware of Chinese mistreatment towards Uighur Muslims, and the issues have escalated since. China has allegedly been gathering information on the Uighur minority through hacking phones and devices, as well as rounding up the ethnic group and relocating them to what appears to be concentration camps in Xinjiang.
However, the US asylum process is incredibly slow, risking those whose lives may be threatened back in China. President Donald Trump has been targeting China with sanctions in Xinjiang while hundreds of Uighurs face asylum bids hung up for years. Applicants are able to work in the US while awaiting an asylum decision, however, legal status can bring up issues in terms of employment and living arrangements. The quasi-legal status of these immigrants also leaves them at risk of deportation. The current backlog for those seeking asylum is roughly 340,000 as of last September.