President Donald Trump’s administration announced on Monday that it was unveiling a new policy that aims to drastically reduce the number of Central American migrants eligible to enter the United States.
According to Fox News, the new rule would require most migrants entering through America’s southern border to first seek asylum in one of the countries they traveled through.
Given tens of thousands of Central American migrants are traveling through Mexico and other regions before getting to the United States, this rule means they will have to apply for asylum in the country they first traveled through before coming to the U.S. to apply for asylum.
This still gives immigrants the legal right to apply for asylum, but the policy aims to keep migrants in those other countries while their applications are being processed.
In theory, this will help to reduce the historic overflow and overcrowding at migrant detention facilities on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Here’s what Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a statement:
Ultimately, today’s action will reduce the overwhelming burdens on our domestic system caused by asylum-seekers failing to seek urgent protection in the first available country, economic migrants lacking a legitimate fear of persecution, and the transnational criminal organizations, traffickers, and smugglers exploiting our system for profits.
Attorney General William Barr said in a statement that the change would curb “forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States — while ensuring that no one is removed from the United States who is more likely than not to be tortured or persecuted on account of a protected ground.”
As noted by Fox News, here’s the legal aspect of how this could play out:
U.S. law allows refugees to request asylum when they arrive at the U.S. regardless of how they did so, but there is an exception for those who have come through a country considered to be “safe.”
But the Immigration and Nationality Act, which governs asylum law, is vague on how a country is determined “safe”; it says “pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement.”
Right now, the U.S. has such an agreement, known as a “safe third country,” only with Canada. Under a recent agreement with Mexico, Central American countries were considering a regional compact on the issue, but nothing has been decided.
With almost a hundred thousand immigrants reaching the U.S. border every month, something had to be done.
While liberals will hate this new rule, Trump had to do something to help reduce the unprecedented stress on immigration agents.
This new rule will hopefully continue to result in a decrease in the number of migrants reaching the U.S. border.