President Donald Trump and his administration are moving to end asylum protections for Central American migrants coming to the United States.
A new rule published to the Federal Register on Monday would allow the U.S. to refuse asylum-seeker status to anyone who arrived to this country if they passed through another country first, the Associated Press reported. The rule change is seen as a direct challenge to many immigrants seeking to come to the U.S. as a sizable number have come from nations south of Mexico.
The rule change does have some exceptions. Migrants who entered the country as a result of human trafficking, for example, can apply for asylum still, as can individuals who were denied asylum from nations they came through before entering the U.S., or if the country they came through isn’t a current signor of international asylum agreements.
But those exceptions do not stop the U.S. government from denying asylum status from refugees of nations with violence and other turmoil. Even unattended children crossing the border can be denied asylum status under the rule.
The changes, set to be implemented on Tuesday, are likely to face significant legal challenges from immigrants’ rights groups.
Trump proposes violating longstanding norms for asylum seekers with new rules that would keep Central American migrants, including children, from having the opportunity to prove they deserve asylum. https://t.co/OU2JWqCpWr
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) July 15, 2019
According to the American Immigration Council, asylum is a process every country that signed onto the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol recognizes as a political right of refugees.
A refugee is a person “who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country, and cannot obtain protection in that country, due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future ‘on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion,'” that organization explains.
The U.S. has “legal obligations to provide protection to those who qualify as refugees” under international agreements, the American Immigration Council adds.