The Trump administration’s view on the political asylum process
The Trump administration’s policies have tremendously changed the political asylum process. Before analyzing the repercussions of the current government’s policies, it is important to explain that immigrants have the possibility to request political asylum when they are trying to flee from danger, persecution, violence, abuse, war and other precarious situations that may put their integrity at risk. To apply for political asylum, immigrants must demonstrate, through verifiable evidence, that they have been or could be victims of these circumstances.
The US, being a first world country and an international power, has always been the destination of thousands of asylum seekers, who arrive at the borders or cross them without legal documentation to request international protection through this humanitarian program, either at authorized ports of entry or within the country.
However, the current administration of the US, headed by President Donald Trump, has a rather negative view regarding political asylum and states that immigrants abuse humanitarian programs to benefit financially and diminish job opportunities for American workers, an opinion that has been contradicted by the results of multiple investigations.
Thus, the Trump administration has always wanted to reduce the number of asylum seekers entering the US, stating that due to the number of asylum applications, waiting times are quite long and most applications are rejected for lack of evidence, but immigrants often work in the country during this period of time, taking advantage of the economic system and becoming a burden on taxpayers.
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Current conditions of asylum seekers
The Trump administration’s stance when it comes to the political asylum process led to the implementation of policies that substantially restrict possibilities for immigrants to apply for international protection in the US.
For instance, in 2019, the governments of Mexico and the US signed an agreement called the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), which requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while they await responses to their immigration cases. In fact, this policy is also known as “Remain in Mexico.”
Asylum seekers do not always have economic and job stability, so they arrive at the US’ borders without basic resources and wait for international help to protect their lives. Therefore, they currently live in temporary shelters in dangerous cities of Mexico and survive thanks to the support of humanitarian organizations and surrounding communities.
Currently, there are approximately 23,000 asylum seekers in Mexico, who hope the sanitary situation improves soon so that the US’ immigration courts expedite pending processes and can have their hearings with a local judge.
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Asylum seekers look forward to Inauguration Day
Dozens of asylum seekers shared their testimonies regarding situations they went through under the MPP policy. They state that the Trump administration sent them to dangerous environments, where their lives are at risk.
However, they still have hope thanks to the results of the most recent presidential elections of the US. Democratic nominee Joe Biden took the victory and will take office on January 20, 2021, on Inauguration Day. The president-elect and his team have a pretty welcoming view when it comes to immigration and plan to protect the most vulnerable immigrant communities and humanitarian programs such as political asylum.
The incoming administration promised to improve the local immigration system, offer benefits to asylum seekers, and remove Trump’s restrictive policies like the MPP. As a result, asylum seekers waiting patiently in Mexico hope that the new administration will deliver on its promises and help them build a promising future.
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