A new rule published by the Trump administration would end asylum protections for nearly all Central American families fleeing violence, persecution, and poverty, The New York Times reports.
The administration published a new rule in the Federal Register, which is set to go into effect Tuesday, saying that any asylum-seekers who pass through another country before reaching the US border will be barred from applying for asylum. The rule is expected to apply to children who try to cross the border without a guardian but makes one exception for people who have been trafficked or if the asylum-seeker was denied protection in another country, The Associated Press reported.
Under the new rule, Hondurans and Salvadorans would have to apply for -- and be denied -- asylum in Guatemala or Mexico to be able to apply for asylum in the US. Guatemalans would have to apply for asylum and Mexico and be denied in order to seek asylum in the US.
No more protections for most asylum seekers:
The rule effectively limits asylum protections to people from Mexico and those who enter the United States by sea. Most asylum-seekers are from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. So far this fiscal year, Border Patrol has arrested 363,300 people from those three countries compared to just 3,200 from Mexico.
The Times reported that the Trump administration went ahead with the rule despite Guatemala and Mexico refusing to go along with their plan. The Trump administration had attempted to negotiate with the two countries but gave up after talks with Guatemala broke down.
Rule will be immediately challenged in court:
The ACLU immediately moved to sue the administration to stop the new rule.
Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, told The Times that the rule “could not be more inconsistent with our domestic laws or international laws.”
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called the rule “xenophobic and racist.”
“Plain and simple, this is the president lashing out in an attempt to keep those seeking safety out of the country,” he said.
Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrand, criticized the move in a news conference Monday.
“Mexico doesn’t agree with measures that limit access to asylum and refuge for those people who fear for their life or security in their countries of origin because of persecution,” he said.