Political asylum applications during Donald Trump’s term
President Trump, along with his cabinet, has always wanted to change the current immigration system of the US and has proposed merit-based alternatives rather than humanitarian programs or immigration based on family ties.
Thus, over the past four years, the Trump administration has dramatically changed processes to request international protection through humanitarian programs, substantially increasing restrictions and requirements for immigrants fleeing danger, persecution, violence, or war of their countries.
For instance, immigrants now have fewer opportunities to apply for political asylum, and the Trump administration’s restrictions lead to the denial of hundreds of asylum applications, leaving the most vulnerable immigrant communities in limbo.
Adding to that, the current administration of the US implemented policies such as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), or “Remain in Mexico,” which forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while receiving the answer to their immigration applications. Normally, they do not have basic resources or economic stability, so they currently live in temporary shelters in dangerous cities of Mexico and survive thanks to donations from humanitarian organizations and neighboring communities.
Despite criticism President Trump has received for the way he handles the political asylum process, his administration is still trying to increase restrictions for asylum seekers before leaving office in January 2021.
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Final Rule increases restrictions for asylum seekers
On December 11, 2020, the Trump administration, through DHS (Department of Homeland Security), DOJ (Department of Justice), and EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review), released a Final Rule that narrows opportunities and increases requirements for immigrants to be admissible in the US under the concept of political asylum.
These new rules substantially restrict alternatives available to asylum seekers. Parameters set by the Trump administration in the Final Rule state that immigration officials and judges will reject asylum applications if immigrants do not meet the new requirements.
Let’s look at some of the new requirements and regulations:
- Immigrants who entered the US unlawfully (without legal documentation) will not be eligible to apply for political asylum.
- If immigrants went through other countries before reaching the US’ borders and did not request political asylum there, they will not be admissible under the premise of political asylum in the US.
- Immigrants who used false documentation or impersonated someone’s identity will not be able to apply for political asylum.
- Asylum applications could be rejected under the new Final Rule if applicants have been victims of torture by a member of the military or a police officer in their countries.
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To keep in mind
This Final Rule will take effect on January 11, 2021, just nine days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
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