The Trump administration is proposing broad changes to the U.S. asylum process that would make it more difficult for migrants seeking admission to the country under false pretense, according to a statement from the Justice and Homeland Security departments, as reported by the Washinton Examiner.
The late Wednesday announcement states the proposed changes “would allow the departments to more effectively separate baseless claims from meritorious ones" and "ensure groundless claims do not delay or divert resources from deserving claims.”
In a 161-page document, the departments said they will introduce next Monday plans to strengthen the legal process by raising the standards migrants must meet when making an initial “credible fear” claim about returning home. The plan also gives federal immigration judges more discretion in tossing out cases in the early stages that they deem "frivolous."
The new standards will match the process for making an initial claim with more rigorous standards that are outlined in the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The new rules are less amicable to migrants who have traveled through another country before seeking refuge in the U.S., as hundreds of thousands of Central Americans did in fiscal year 2018 known as "asylum shopping" — or migrants illegally crossing into the U.S. Since 2017, the U.S. has been the world’s top destination for asylum seekers.
The proposed changes are not related to the coronavirus pandemic and would take effect in mid-July. Asylum seekers were separately prohibited from seeking refuge at U.S. borders under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that said doing so could pose health concerns amid the pandemic.
Under an existing Trump administration policy, tens of thousands of asylum seekers were returned to the Mexican side of the southern border to wait for weeks to months for asylum hearings on the U.S. side, as per the Migrant Protections Protocols installed as a deterrence to caravans the likes of which were seen last spring. Nearly all asylum hearings have been postponed as a result of the CDC guidance. Now, more than 1 million immigration cases are waiting to be decided by less than 500 immigration judges.
For the full article, please visit the Washington Examiner.
Updated: Thu, Jun 25th 2020 @ 1:15pm EDT