New Rule Would Keep Central Americans Passing Through Mexico From Filing US Asylum Claims

The Trump administration will likely face stiff opposition, based on both U.S. and international law.

By Jill AmentJuly 16, 2019 7:47 am,

Under a new rule published in the Federal Register, set to take effect Tuesday, the U.S. government will deny asylum claims from anyone who has passed through another country, en route to the U.S. southern border, and didn’t first seek asylum in that country. The U.S. will only consider asylum claims from those people if the first country denied their asylum request. 

Zolan Kanno-Youngs is a homeland security correspondent for The New York Times, and says the majority of those seeking asylum in the U.S. over the past few months have been residents of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. 

“What this would essentially do is say, ‘Hey, if you’re from one of those countries, and you have not applied for asylum in Mexico, you will not be eligible for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border,'” Kanno-Youngs says.

The rule would affect those who have not yet made asylum claims. Many more migrants are believed to be on their way to the U.S., via Mexico. 

The American Civil Liberties Union opposes the Trump administration’s order. Kanno-Youngs says the group will argue that the new order violates law that Congress has already passed, which allows asylum-seekers to make claims in the U.S. He says the ACLU has already successfully blocked Trump administration attempts to disallow asylum claims from migrants who had entered the U.S. illegally. 

In addition to laws passed by Congress, Kanno-Youngs says international law governs the ability of migrants to make asylum claims.

He says the Trump administration has been unable to reach agreements with Guatemala and Mexico that it had hoped would result in migrants filing asylum claims in one of those countries instead.

“Neither of those countries agreed to that deal,” Kanno-Youngs says. “And just a day before this rule was announced, the president of Guatemala backed out of a meeting with President Trump.”

Kanno-Youngs says the Trump administration will probably use the failure of those negotiations in its legal arguments in support of the new asylum rule. 


Written by Shelly Brisbin.