Trump Administration Implementing '3rd Country' Rule On Migrants Seeking Asylum

16 Juillet, 2019, 12:33 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Trump Administration Implementing '3rd Country' Rule On Migrants Seeking Asylum

The rule is what's known as an interim final rule and will go into effect quicker than a normal federal regulation, which typically takes 60 days after first publication.

The Trump administration announced new restrictions on asylum applications from immigrants traveling to the U.S. through Mexico, the latest move in an immigration crackdown.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, he added that his country "will not enter any safe third country negotiations without express authorisation of Congress".

The Trump administration claims families are taking advantage of legal loopholes it says allow migrants a free pass to the country while they wait out phony asylum requests.

A similar policy enacted by the Trump administration was blocked by a federal judge in November.

"Until Congress can act, this interim rule will help reduce a major "pull" factor driving irregular migration to the United States and enable DHS and DOJ to more quickly and efficiently process cases originating from the southern border, leading to fewer individuals transiting through Mexico on a unsafe journey", Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in the statement.

The policy is nearly certain to face a legal challenge.

"Until Congress can act, this interim rule will help reduce a major "pull" factor driving irregular migration to the United States", acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a statement, adding that the rule would allow the departments to "more quickly and efficiently process cases originating from the southern border, leading to fewer individuals transiting through Mexico on a unsafe journey". "But it is patently unlawful".

The only exceptions to the new rule are victims of human trafficking, cases in which asylum seekers passed through countries that are not signatories of the major global treaties concerning the treatment of refugees or cases in which an individual first sought asylum in another country and failed to obtain it. However, 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 United States has such an agreement, known as a "safe third country", only with Canada.

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Mexico is party to all three, and all Central and South American countries have ratified at least one. A planned Monday meeting between Trump and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, however, was called off. "It dumps asylum seekers on other countries without any assurances that they will get a fair hearing". It applies to migrants who are arriving to the USA, not those who are already in the country.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said additional funding given by Congress for aid at the U.S. -Mexico border isn't enough.

The Trump administration's ripping up of the right to asylum has come in the face of mass demonstrations across the United States in opposition to the threat of police-state style immigration raids that were to have begun on Sunday. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are poor countries, often wracked by violence. There are some exceptions, including whether an asylum seeker passed through a "safe" country first.

And in April, Trump signed a memorandum, giving USA federal agencies 90 days to implement new rules for asylum seekers, including requiring them to pay an application fee.

Rights groups have vowed to challenge the latest rule in the courts. But, for example, while Australia, France and Brazil have signed those treaties, so have Afghanistan and Libya, places the USA does not consider safe.

If the courts allow the regulation, it would also reduce the burdens on the border agencies, helping them use his slowly extending steel border wall to help block drugs coming into rural and blue-collar communities. This includes a "remain in Mexico" order that has forced immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to stay in Mexican border towns until their cases are adjudicated, without adequate housing, food or services, and prey to widespread violence.

That language does not authorize the Attorney General to deny asylum seekers; it authorizes him to remove them, on a case-by-base basis, only after determining that there is some third country that could hear the asylum-seeker's claim without prejudice. The numbers have increased despite Trump's derisive rhetoric and hard-line immigration policies.

A large group of illegal aliens boards a bus bound for the Border Patrol processing facility after being apprehended by Border Patrol near McAllen, Texas, on April 18, 2019.

There was no indication that there had been any massive sweeps, however, and officials at the Department of Homeland Security told some in the media that merely a "handful" of immigrants had been detained. And lawmakers who traveled there recently decried conditions.

People are generally eligible for asylum in the US if they fear return to their home country because they would be persecuted based on race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular social group.

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