Monday, 09 December, 2019


Trump's asylum crackdown: Will the 'safe third country' plan work?

People live in tents in the crowded Juventud 2000 migrant shelter in Tijuana Mexico Trump's asylum crackdown: Will the 'safe third country' plan work?
Bennie Garza | 16 July, 2019, 17:42

The rule is set to take effect Tuesday and is expected to spark swift legal challenges.

The new asylum rules are likely to face legal action from activist groups in the United States. The rule also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.

The Trump administration is moving forward with a tough new asylum rule in its campaign to slow the flow of Central American migrants crossing the U.S. -Mexico border. The proposal here contemplates using that exceptional authority indiscriminately towards all asylum seekers without any notice about whether the pass-through countries are willing and capable of providing a fair, non-prejudicial adjudication of an asylum-seeker's claims.

There are some exceptions though - if someone has been trafficked; if the country the migrant passed through did not sign one of the major global treaties that govern how refugees are managed (though most Western countries have signed them); or if an asylum seeker sought protection in a country but was denied, then a migrant could still apply for U.S. asylum.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, however, said his country would not become a dumping ground for those rejected by the USA and would not return refugees to danger zones.

"We can't let people that make up the majority of asylum-seekers, who are not qualified, bring down the system and prevent truly qualified asylum-seekers from accessing protection", Vaughan said.

Though there are some exceptions, the rule looks likely to end the procession of Central American migrants journeying through Mexico to the United States to claim asylum.

A new Trump administration rule says immigrants who pass through a third country en route to the US can not apply for asylum at the USA southern border. The numbers have increased despite Trump's derisive rhetoric and hardline immigration policies.

It is thought to mostly target Central American migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador fleeing poverty and gang or drug-trafficking violence. The rule will effectively bar migrants from claiming asylum, with certain exceptions, if they did not request asylum for protection from persecution or torture in at least one other country where asylum was available through which they traveled after leaving their point of origination.

Though the new rule comes days after the Trump administration instructed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to conduct sweeping deportation raids in major cities, President Donald Trump has been weighing its introduction since May.

It is not clear what will now happen to asylum seekers rejected by the USA at the border with Mexico. "This new rule is risky, disgraceful and blatantly illegal".

The Trump administration's repudiation of both USA and global law in order to suppress vulnerable refugees on the United States southern border, while attempting to whip up xenophobic and racist hatred against them, is part of a broader assault on all democratic forms of rule.

Officials said the new rule will mitigate "the strain on our country's immigration system" by providing a more efficient system of identifying aliens who are "misusing the asylum system to enter and remain in the United States".

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".

Migrants from other countries en route to the United States would have had to apply for asylum in Guatemala under the agreement. Mexico and Central American countries were considering a regional compact on the issue, but nothing has been decided.

Guatemala's President, Jimmy Morales, has been under pressure from the U.S., but Guatemala's constitutional court granted an injunction late on Sunday which effectively blocks him from signing a migration deal.

The rule would make it all but impossible for asylum-seekers to gain legal entry to the United States unless they first apply for asylum in a "third country".

The rule applies to anyone arriving at the U.S. -Mexico border. For example, migrants can apply for deferral of removal under the "Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment".

Who decides on "safe" countries?

Democrats who have visited the facilities run by U.S. Border Patrol and Protection (CBP) have expressed outrage at the filthy conditions at the facilities.

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