Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Trump Administration to impose even more restrictions for asylum seekers

Yesterday the Trump administration presented a new set of restrictions to the nation’s asylum system, unveiling a proposal to significantly expand the crimes that render migrants ineligible for asylum in the U.S. to include convictions of using false documents and crossing the border illegally more than once.

The proposed rule by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Justice Department, which oversees the nation’s immigration courts, would also disqualify foreign nationals who have been convicted of possession of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, unlawful use of public benefits, a crime related to gang activity or any felony. Convictions related to domestic violence would also make individuals ineligible for asylum.

Under current policy, only those who have committed “particularly serious crimes,” persecuted others, engaged in terrorist activity or pose a national security threat are barred from requesting asylum. If enacted, the rule would erect even more regulatory barriers for migrants seeking asylum, a congressionally-authorized humanitarian protection that the administration has already dramatically limited access to.

The cornerstone of the administration’s efforts to deter U.S.-bound migrants and asylum-seekers has been the so-called “Remain in Mexico” program. Under the policy, more than 55,000 asylum-seekers have been returned to northern Mexico by the U.S. and are required to wait there for the duration of their immigration court proceedings, often in squalid and dangerous shelters and encampments.

The proposed rule revealed yesterday is slated to be published in the official journal of the U.S. government today. It will then be subject to a 30-day window in which the public can file comments on it before a final rule is published and implemented.