CHN: Trump Administration Moves to End Asylum; ACLU Cries Foul

The Trump Administration last week announced a sweeping rule that cuts off asylum for almost all migrants who pass through another country en route to the U.S.-Mexico border, and it took the ACLU all of 48 hours to file a lawsuit.

The rule, which took effect almost immediately, applies to almost anyone arriving at the U.S. southern border. Sometimes asylum seekers from Africa and other continents arrive there, but the overwhelming majority of migrants arriving are Central Americans from El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras.

The move by the Trump Administration is aimed at essentially ending asylum protections on the southern border, reversing decades of U.S. policy on how refugees are treated. It comes as the government continues to clamp down on migrants, and as migrant advocates protest the inhumane treatment of those being held in border facilities.

The ACLU was not impressed.

On behalf of four advocacy organizations, it filed a lawsuit arguing that this latest crackdown violates federal immigration and regulatory laws.

“This is the Trump Administration’s most extreme run at an asylum ban yet,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt. “It clearly violates domestic and international law and cannot stand.”

In the lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California, the ACLU asserted that the new regulation “is part of an unlawful effort to significantly undermine, if not virtually repeal, the U.S. asylum system.”

The ACLU further contends that the rule violates federal asylum law, which makes protections available to migrants whether or not they arrive at a port of entry. In addition, the ACLU is arguing that the Trump Administration violated regulatory guidelines when it issued the sweeping change immediately and without going through a thorough public process that would allow for a public comment period.

In a related development, threatened raids by ICE targeting 2,000 immigrants in nine U.S. cities failed to develop, leaving advocates temporarily relieved but still on edge and immigrants remaining in hiding.

In Miami, according to NPR affiliate WLRN, a hush fell over a market usually buzzing with activity among immigrant merchants and shoppers.

“People are clearly hiding,” Yohanna Gomez, a Honduran immigrant who runs a Central American stall at the market, told WLRN. “If you look around, it’s the people who are working are basically the only people here. But the majority of our clients are immigrants. Some with papers, others with no papers, but they’re all scared.”

Click here to read CHN’s response to the threatened raids.

And in yet another development on the immigration front, emotions ran raw when the House Oversight Committee conducted a hearing on conditions in immigrant facilities along the southern border. The hearing was one of a series of hearings taking place not only on migrant detention facilities but also examining the Trump Administration’s overall immigration policies.