White House Sets Asylum Reform to Block Economic Migrants

US President Donald Trump holds a roundtable discussion with African American leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, June 10, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s administration posted a new regulation to deter economic migrants from seeking asylum in the United States.

The draft was immediately slammed by pro-migration groups, who object to Trump’s closure of the southern border to economic immigrants since early 2020, and insist that the United States is a nation for immigrants.

“The Trump Administration’s renewed efforts to dismantle our nation’s asylum system are abhorrent, un-American, and illegal,” said a statement by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). “This President is attempting to rewrite our immigration laws in direct contravention of duly enacted statutes and clear congressional intent … We can and must continue to be a beacon of hope and freedom across the world.”

Since roughly 2011, more than two million migrants — plus roughly 500,000 “Unaccompanied Alien Children” — from Central America have moved into the United States. They have rationally used loose asylum rules and loopholes to migrate into the United States in search of work, safe neighborhoods, and decent K-12 schools. Few have been sent home because the courts are clogged and underfunded by Congress

That massive migration has been great for the migrants — and for white-collar employers, real estate owners, landlords, government aid workers, and immigration lawyers.

But it has been a disaster to blue-collar Americans. They have lost jobs and wages, cheap housing, K-12 opportunities for their kids – as well as political support from pro-migrant, white-collar Democrats, and college-graduate progressives.

The migration has also caused much turmoil in Central American countries because the exit of many young men and women deflate the political and economic reforms needed to grow their nation’s economies.

Trump used a variety of diplomatic threats and legal reforms to block the migration in early 2020.

Democrats and business groups have fought Trump at every step, partly because almost 150 million people around the world who want to become workers, renters, and consumers in the United States said a 2017 Gallup survey.

The Justice Department explained the new policy:

[The Departments] submitted to the Federal Register for publication a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would amend multiple provisions of the Departments’ regulations to create more efficient procedures for the adjudication of claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) regulations.

According to the department, the draft regulation would:

  • Amend the regulations governing credible fear determinations so that individuals found to have such a fear will have their claims for asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the CAT adjudicated by an immigration judge in streamlined proceedings, rather than in immigration court proceedings conducted under section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA);
  • Permit immigration judges to pretermit asylum applications without a hearing if the application does not demonstrate prima facie eligibility for relief;
  • Clarify standards for the adjudication of asylum and withholding claims including amendments to the definitions of the terms “particular social group,” “political opinion,” “persecution,” and “firm resettlement”;
  • Raise the burden of proof for the threshold screening of withholding and CAT protection claims from “significant possibility” to a “reasonable possibility” standard;

The new rules would largely bar migrants who traveled through various safe countries to get to the United States.

The rule would also narrow the categories of people who could claim membership of a persecuted “particular social group”:

Economic migrants have claimed membership in those groups to win entry, work permits, and residency in the United States.

That new policy reverses the trend set by President Barack Obama’s deputies. For example, those deputies widened the rules to provide asylum to Central American women who said their husbands physically abused them.

The new regulation “does not ‘close loopholes’; it’s not ‘legally focused’, ‘technical’, or ‘somewhat vague’. It explicitly & unambiguously shuts off asylum to the vast majority of people who deserve it under current law,” said a tweet from a California immigration lawyer.



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