The Trump Administration announced a new policy that would restrict the amount of asylum seekers that travel by land into the United States specifically targeting those traveling into the United States from Mexico and the U.S. border. This move may reduce the amount of Central and Southern Americans by the thousands in the months to come. The Federal Register published the new rule that would require all migrants who passed through other countries to first seek asylum in those countries. If that application was denied then they would be able to seek asylum in the United States.
“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 transnational criminal organizations, traffickers, and smugglers exploiting our system for profits,” Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a statement, describing the “targeted changes” as critical.
These statements come at a time that the immigration debate has divided the country further. The administration’s immigration approach will create even more chaos for the country as it follows a policy that would restrict all asylum seekers to remain in Mexico to wait for their hearings, rather than be allowed to remain in the U.S.
The latest change is meant to crackdown on asylum seekers who travel to the U.S. for economic reasons and not escaping persecution in their home countries. Attorney General Bill 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.”
The new policy is poised to face an immediate court challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union who vowed to sue on behalf of asylum seekers. “The Trump administration is trying to unilaterally reverse our country’s legal and moral commitment to protect those fleeing danger. This new rule is patently unlawful and we will sue swiftly,” Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the group’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement.
Whether you have entered the United States by legal or illegal means, you could still be afforded protection if you qualify for asylum. Asylum protects individuals who have come to the United States due to a legitimate fear of persecution in their home country. If you can demonstrate that your fear is credible, you may be able to come under this type of legal protection.