Reversing decades of U.S. policy, the Trump administration said Monday it will end all asylum protections for most migrants who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border — the president’s most forceful attempt yet to block asylum claims and slash the number of people seeking refuge in America.
The new rule, expected to go into effect Tuesday, would cover countless would-be refugees, many of them fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. It is certain to face legal challenges.
According to the plan published in the Federal Register , migrants who pass through another country — in this case, Mexico — on their way to the U.S. will be ineligible for asylum. The rule also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.
The vast majority of people affected by the rule are from Central America. But sometimes migrants from Africa , Cuba or Haiti and other countries try to come through the U.S.-Mexico border, as well.
There are some exceptions, including for victims of human trafficking and asylum-seekers who were denied protection in another country. If the country the migrant passed through did not sign one of the major international treaties governing how refugees are managed (though most Western countries signed them) a migrant could still apply for U.S. asylum.
Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Monday that his country “does not agree with any measure that limits access to asylum.” Mexico’s asylum system is also currently overwhelmed.
Trump administration officials say the changes are meant to close the gap between the initial asylum screening that most people pass and the final decision on asylum that most people do not win.
Attorney General William Barr said that the United States is “a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed” by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of migrants at the southern border.
He also said the rule is aimed at “economic migrants” and “those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States.”
Culled from Association press