The Trump administration has announced new asylum policies that would effectively end asylum entitlements for the vast majority of migrants reaching the southern border.
The “Third-Country Asylum Rule” issued in a bulletin by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) signals a major crackdown on asylum claims along the Mexican border.
The new rule to be published imminently in the Federal Register reads as follows:
“This IFR uses the authority delegated by Congress in section 208(b)(2)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to enhance the integrity of the asylum process by placing further restrictions or limitations on eligibility for aliens who seek asylum in the United States. Specifically, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are revising 8 C.F.R. § 208.13(c) and 8 C.F.R. § 1208.13(c) to add a new bar to eligibility for asylum for an alien who enters or attempts to enter the United States across the southern border, but who did not apply for protection from persecution or torture where it was available in at least one third country outside the alien’s country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence through which he or she transited en route to the United States.”
Three key restrictions to the rule are explained as follows:
(1) an alien who demonstrates that he or she applied for protection from persecution or torture in at least one of the countries through which the alien transited en route to the United States, and the alien received a final judgment denying the alien protection in such country;
(2) an alien who demonstrates that he or she satisfies the definition of “victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons” provided in 8 C.F.R. § 214.11; or,
(3) an alien who has transited en route to the United States through only a country or countries that were not parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol, or the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Attorney General William Barr has acknowledged the full legality and necessity of the rule.
“This Rule is a lawful exercise of authority provided by Congress to restrict eligibility for asylum,” reads Barr’s statement in the bulletin. “The United States is a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of aliens along the southern border.”
“This Rule will decrease 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 southern border continues to be inundated with hundreds of thousands of migrants from all over the world, including a surge from African countries such as the Congo, which is currently in the midst of a historic Ebola outbreak.
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