The Trump administration is moving to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants, the Department of Justice announced Monday.
According to text of the rule set to publish in the Federal Register on Tuesday, asylum seekers who pass through another country before reaching the United States will be ineligible for asylum when they reach the southern border.
The move marks an acceleration in the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce the number of migrants crossing the U.S. border with Mexico and has the potential to considerably reduce the number of asylum claims.
The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice announced the Interim Final Rule (IFR) in a joint statement Monday.
“The Departments are amending their respective regulations to provide that, with limited exceptions, an alien who enters or attempts to enter the United States across the southern border after failing to apply for protection in a third country outside the alien’s country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence through which the alien transited en route to the United States is ineligible for asylum,” states the text of the rule.
Under the rule, those who have been the victims of trafficking are granted exceptions. The rule also allows exceptions for migrants passing through countries that have not signed major international refugee treaties and for migrants who have been denied asylum in the countries they traveled through.
Trump administration officials described it as necessary to reduce the burden placed on the U.S. by the growing number of immigrants seeking asylum at the southern border by allowing agencies to more quickly process cases by weeding out individuals trying to “exploit” the asylum protections.
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