Politico reported Thursday that the Trump administration is weighing an administrative policy change that could prevent most Central American migrants from requesting asylum in the United States.
The change would bar would-be asylees who have lived in another country since leaving their country of origin. Since Central Americans primarily enter the United States through Mexico, they would be effectively barred from requesting asylum.
White House advisers believe the policy change could be enacted without Congressional approval, although similar language is expected to be included in the President’s proposed bill soon to be presented to Congress. Legislative approbation would likely make the change more impervious to any litigation opponents might institute. Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies said he expects the president to issue the rule as a presidential proclamation, adding that it would likely be contested and would probably end up in the Supreme Court.
Such attempts to judicially prevent the change are certain to arise. Immigration activists immediately upon learning of the plan raised overwrought howls of protest.
“Central Americans who are fleeing for their lives [would be] forced back into the burning house they are escaping,” said an official of America’s Voice, an immigration advocacy group.
“Seeking asylum is a human right, full stop,” said an official of the Americas at Amnesty International USA. Adopting the policy “not only violates human rights obligations, but is also fundamentally cruel.”
Nothing new there of course. Such are the responses of activists to any suggestion that might reduce immigrant packing by even the slightest degree.