Asylum-seekers will no longer be granted refuge at the Mexico-US border, if they passed through any other country during their journey.
That’s according to a ruling which was blessed by the US supreme court earlier this week, effectively ending America’s status as a safe place for persecuted people.
The policy had initially been refused by the lower-courts when posed by the Trump administration earlier this year, on the grounds that it violates long-standing global asylum laws allowing people fleeing persecution a right to refuge.
However, the supreme court has overruled this decision and temporarily blessed the policy, despite severe criticism from almost every angle, including other judicial figures within the supreme court itself.
“The rule […] topples decades of settled asylum practices and affects some of the most vulnerable people in the western hemisphere” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said following the ruling, as she criticised the policy’s lack of concern for global human rights legislation.
According to worldwide asylum law and policy, a person can claim refuge in any country, if they can prove they have a “genuine and well-founded fear” of persecution, which threatens their safety and/or life.
The new policy is yet another in a string which has been enforced by the Trump administration, as part of his national ‘immigration clampdown’, which sits alongside the caging of babies and children at the Mexico border; the separation of children from their parents in detention centres; and the blanket ‘Muslim-ban’ which restricted individuals from Muslim countries from travelling into the US.
The new policy applies to all people, including children, and will affect the vast majority of the families – of which there are thousands – from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras who pass through Mexico on their journeys towards safety.
[This] sits alongside the caging of babies and children at the Mexico border; the separation of children from their parents in detention centres; and the blanket ‘Muslim-ban’
Trump described this as a “BIG WIN” in a Tweet, following the news, although many positioned with the legal, human rights, and judicial spheres have openly disagreed, arguing instead that the move has undone globally understood principles to protect vulnerable people around the world.
Jess Morales Rocketto, chair of a coalition of groups opposing the crackdown, voiced her disgust at the policy:
“All parents want freedom and opportunity for their children” she said, “but when it comes to the American dream, Trump and his Republican allies are saying: ‘Latinos need not apply.’”
While the supreme court’s ruling has not yet been pushed into law, it does mean that Trump’s vision will be temporarily granted.
“…when it comes to the American dream, Trump and his Republican allies are saying: ‘Latinos need not apply.’”
In practice, this means that any Central American man, woman, family, or lone child who passes through Mexico in order to reach the US border will be immediately barred from claiming asylum.
The Trump Administration argues that this is the right approach to tackle ‘fake’ asylum-seekers, who are simply interested in a “fast-track” into the US rather than safety. The reality, however, is that the vast majority of persecuted people from Central America will no longer be able to claim refuge in the USA, and thousands of people will be left to fend for themselves instead.
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