Trump Raises Bar for Asylum Seekers at Southern Border

Border Patrol agents apprehend large group of 230 migrants near Antelope Wells, NM. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/El Paso Sector)
Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/El Paso Sector

The Trump administration announced changes in asylum regulations Monday morning that will “add a new bar to eligibility for asylum” for those migrants who appear at, or illegally cross the U.S. border from Mexico.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials announced Monday morning a new asylum rule that requires migrants to show proof that they applied for asylum protection in “at least one third-party country outside of the alien’s country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence.”

“While the recent supplemental funding was absolutely vital to helping confront the crisis, the truth is that it will not be enough without targeted changes to the legal framework of our immigration system,” DHS Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan said in a written statement provided to Breitbart News. “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 dangerous journey.”

The new rule, applied to 8 C.F.R. § 208.13(c) and 8 C.F.R. § 1208.13(c) adds a new eligibility requirement for migrants who enter or attempt to enter the U.S. via the southwestern border with Mexico. The rule will effectively bar migrants from claiming asylum, with certain exceptions, if they did not request asylum for protection from persecution or torture in at least one other country where asylum was available through which they traveled after leaving their point of origination.

DHS officials noted the three exceptions to the new rule:

(1) an alien who demonstrates that he or she applied for protection from persecution or torture in at least one of the countries through which the alien transited en route to the United States, and the alien received a final judgment denying the alien protection in such country;

(2) an alien who demonstrates that he or she satisfies the definition of “victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons” provided in 8 C.F.R. § 214.11; or,

(3) an alien who has transited en route to the United States through only a country or countries that were not parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol, or the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr explained, “This Rule is a lawful exercise of authority provided by Congress to restrict eligibility for asylum. The United States is a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of aliens along the southern border.”

“This Rule will decrease forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States—while ensuring that no one is removed from the United States who is more likely than not to be tortured or persecuted on account of a protected ground,” the attorney general concluded.
The move from the Trump administration follows months of what officials call abuse of our asylum laws by mostly Central American migrants seeing economic migration but who claim asylum. The mass migration has created chaos along the southern border and overwhelmed an already overloaded immigration court system.

“Only a small minority of these individuals, however, are ultimately granted asylum,” DHS officials explained. “The large number of meritless asylum claims places an extraordinary strain on the nation’s immigration system, undermines many of the humanitarian purposes of asylum, has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis of human smuggling, and adversely impacts the United States’ ongoing diplomatic negotiations with foreign countries.”

Officials said the new rule will mitigate “the strain on our country’s immigration system” by providing a more efficient system of identifying aliens who are “misusing the asylum system to enter and remain in the United States.”

“Ultimately, today’s action will reduce the overwhelming burdens on our domestic system caused by asylum-seekers failing to seek urgent protection in the first available country, economic migrants lacking a legitimate fear of persecution, and the transnational criminal organizations, traffickers, and smugglers exploiting our system for profits,” Acting Secretary McAleenan concluded.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced last week that family unit migration increased 469 percent so far this year when compared to the same period in Fiscal Year 2018, Breitbart News reported.

Of the 390,000 migrant family units apprehended after illegally crossing the U.S. border from Mexico between ports of entry, nearly half (167,104) came from Guatemala. Another 197,217 came from Honduras and El Salvador. The total number of migrant family units from the Northern Triangle area of Central America rose from 103,563 in all of FY 2018 to 364,041 this fiscal year to date (a more than 250 percent increase with three months to go).

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.


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