Trump Administration Seeks to Deny Asylum Protections to Majority of Migrants at Southern Border

In a new rule that is planned to be effective Tuesday, the Trump administration is seeking to reverse decades of asylum policy by effectively denying protections to most migrants seeking asylum at the southern border of the US. The new policy, which the American Civil Liberties Union plans to promptly challenge in court, would require asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border to prove that they have sought and been denied asylum in a so-called “safe third country” before they can apply for protection in the US. 

The policy was announced after Guatemala canceled a meeting at the White House to discuss restrictions of this nature. The US has been pressuring Guatemala to agree to an arrangement whereby asylum seekers from Honduras and El Salvador must seek protection in Guatemala before they can pursue asylum in the US. The Trump administration’s new rule would severely curtail asylum protections available to the large number of migrants seeking to escape violence and poverty in those Central American countries, with limited allowances for those who meet certain narrow exceptions. 

Additional Reading

Most Migrants at Border With Mexico Would Be Denied Asylum Protections Under New Trump Rule, The New York Times, July 15, 2019

DHS and DOJ Issue Third-Country Asylum Rule, DHS Press Release, July 15, 2019

Interim Final Rule, Federal Register, published July 15, 2019, via Justia Regulations

Photo credit: / Joseph Sorrentino