On Monday, the Trump administration announced ineligible for asylum most migrants who cross the US southern border after passing through Mexico. Cracking down on migration has been a signature policy of President Donald Trump.

Attorney General Bill Barr said in a statement, “The United States is a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of aliens along the southern border.”

“This rule will decrease forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States,” Barr added. The new rule of the White House targets the recent stream of hundreds of thousands of migrants from Central America and other countries who attempted to cross into the United States from Mexico and requested asylum.

These appeals made by families saying they fled endemic violence and poverty in their countries and so to allow the applicant to remain in the United States and to move around freely while their cases are adjudicated, which can take two years.

However, the immigration officials claimed that many disappear into the country and never appear in court for their hearings. The new law declares ineligible for asylum any migrants who enter the US from the southern border and who have not asked for asylum protection in any of the countries they crossed to get to the United States.

There will be an exception for people who can demonstrate they are victims of torture or persecution. Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project said, “The Trump administration is trying to unilaterally reverse our country’s legal and moral commitment to protect those fleeing danger. This new rule is patently unlawful and we will sue swiftly.” 

Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, termed the new asylum rule as “xenophobic” and “racist.” “It is unlawful and must be stopped by the courts. We need immigration policies that affirm the American values that the President is all too eager to trample on,” said Thompson.

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