Enterprise-Record (Chico)

US to limit asylum to migrants who pass through a 3rd nation

- By Rebecca Santana and Elliot Spagat

The Biden administra­tion said Tuesday that it will generally deny asylum to migrants who show up at the U.S. southern border without first seeking protection in a country they passed through, mirroring an attempt by the Trump administra­tion that never took effect because it was blocked in court.

The measure, while stopping short of a total ban, imposes severe limitation­s on asylum for any nationalit­y except Mexicans, who don’t have to travel through a third country to reach the U.S.

The measure is almost certain to face legal challenges. President Donald Trump pursued a similar ban in 2019 but a federal appeals court prevented it from taking effect.

The Biden administra­tion rule proposed Tuesday has to first go through a 30-day public comment period before it can be formally adopted. If adopted it would remain in place for two years.

Administra­tion officials expect the rule will take effect when a pandemic-era rule that denies asylum on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19 ends. That rule, known as Title 42 authority, is set to expire May 11 but has been delayed twice by legal challenges from Republican-led states.

Migration surging

The Homeland Security and Justice Department­s argued that surging numbers of migrants left them little choice. They anticipate illegal crossings to climb to between 11,000 and 13,000 a day if no action is taken after Title 42 ends; that’s even higher than the 8,600 daily crossings in mid-December as anticipati­on spread among migrants and smugglers that Title 42 was about to end. At the last minute the Supreme Court kept it in place.

The proposed rule establishe­s “a rebuttable presumptio­n of asylum ineligibil­ity” for anyone who passes through another country to reach the U.S. border with Mexico without first seeking protection there, according to a notice in the Federal Register. Exceptions will be made for people with an “acute medical emergency,” “imminent and extreme threat” of violent crimes such as murder, rape or kidnapping, being a victim of human traffickin­g or “other extremely compelling circumstan­ces.” Children traveling alone will also be exempted, according to the rule.

The rule largely calls on prospectiv­e migrants to follow legal pathways to apply for asylum such as using the CBP One app, through which prospectiv­e migrants can schedule an appointmen­t to apply to appear at a border entry point to apply for asylum. The administra­tion portrayed these efforts as a way to protect migrants from the dangerous journeys as they travel north to the U.S. and allow the U.S. border entry points to manage the migrant flows in a “safe and efficient manner.”


But critics have said the app has been beset by technical problems and its not clear how many appointmen­ts are available every day.

 ?? GREGORY BULL — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE ?? Migrants wait to be processed after crossing the U.S. border near Yuma, Ariz., on Jan. 6.
GREGORY BULL — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE Migrants wait to be processed after crossing the U.S. border near Yuma, Ariz., on Jan. 6.

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