(CNN) – What used to be a long, arduous quest to gain US asylum just got even tougher.
The Trump administration’s new asylum policy means those claiming a fear of domestic violence or non-governmental gang violence will be immediately rejected.
So what are the current chances of getting asylum? It turns out, the odds vary significantly by nationality.
Migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — which represent a large portion of US asylum seekers — have among the highest denial rates, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
But asylum seekers from Mexico and Haiti fared even worse.
On the flip side, some nationalities rarely have their asylum requests denied.
There’s no simple answer, but there are definitely key factors.
“Country conditions always can have a big influence over whether you have legitimate grounds for asylum or not,” TRAC co-director Susan B. Long said.
Another hugely important factor is whether the asylum seeker has an attorney.
“Without representation, the deck is stacked against an asylum seeker,” TRAC said.
In fact, “your odds are five times better to get asylum if you have an attorney,” Long said.
Take, for example, China. Between October 2011 and September 2017, applicants from China had the highest number of total US asylum decisions (31,176) — and one of the lowest denial rates (20.3%).
So it’s no surprise that more than 95% of those Chinese applicants had attorneys.
Other nationalities with low denial rates include Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria and Burkina Faso. Those asylum seekers had attorney representation in more than 89% percent of cases decided between October 2011 and September 2017.
Trying to pass asylum screening interviews is nervewracking enough. But those with neither an attorney nor English skills are at a disadvantage, and often get denied more.
“A lot don’t have the resources to pay” for an attorney, Long said. “There are a lot of attorneys trying to be of pro bono assistance, but the need is great.”
Of course, there are many factors US officials weigh when deciding whether to grant someone asylum, such as whether they have proof of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, national origin, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
But “(t)here are no mandatory bars to establishing a credible fear or persecution or torture,” US Citizenship and Immigration Services says.
Yes. In addition to the new rules that deny claims involving domestic or gang violence, the Department of Homeland Security says you might not be granted asylum if:
You have persecuted others based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion
You have been convicted of a serious crime
There are reasons for believing you committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside the United States
You have engaged in terrorist activity, are likely to engage in terrorist activity, have incited terrorist activity, or are a member or representative of a terrorist organization
There are reasonable grounds to believe that you are a danger to the security of the United States