Federal judge blocks Trump's rule that would affect Central Americans seeking political asylum

Trump’s view on political asylum

Former President Donald Trump always criticized the US immigration system and planned to modify existing processes to replace them with alternatives based on merit rather than humanitarian programs or options based on family ties.

The Trump administration had a fairly strict stance when it comes to political asylum, which is a program available to immigrants who try to flee from persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, inter alia.

The former president and his cabinet argued that immigrant communities took advantage of the immigration system to apply for political asylum and work in the US even though they did not meet the mandatory requirements.

Thus, over the past four years, the Trump administration has tried to substantially restrict the political asylum process and narrow the options for the most vulnerable immigrant populations to seek international protection in the US through this humanitarian program.

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Trump’s latest rule to restrict political asylum

Despite former President Trump not winning a second term, his administration tried to restrict immigration until his last day in office.

In fact, on January 19, 2021, just one day before President Joe Biden took office, the Trump administration officially implemented a rule that would significantly limit possibilities for Central American citizens to apply for political asylum in the US.

The rule stated that if asylum seekers had resided or traveled through a third country before reaching the US borders, they would not be able to apply for international assistance through political asylum in the country.

This restriction was part of a series of rules and limitations implemented by the Trump administration to reduce the number of asylum seekers in the US.

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Federal judge blocks Trump’s rule that would affect Central Americans seeking political asylum

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, a federal judge for the Northern District of California blocked the Trump administration’s rule that would limit the options for Central American citizens to request political asylum in the US.

This move by Judge Jon Tigar blocks Trump’s latest attempt to limit the political asylum process. The federal judge openly stated that “the Final Rule is invalid because it is inconsistent with existing asylum laws (…) (it) deprives vulnerable asylum applicants of essential procedural safeguards designed to avoid arbitrary denials of asylum.”

Adding to that, Judge Tigar declares that Trump’s restriction could put at risk the integrity of immigrants who are already trying to flee from precarious situations since they could be victims of violence and abuse under this rule.

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