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Trump Administration to Enact Interim Final Rule, Effectively Ending Asylum at U.S. Border with Mexico

 A new rule scheduled to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security would effectively end asylum for anyone seeking safety in the U.S. at the border with Mexico – the majority of whom are fleeing danger in Central America.

The interim final rule (IFR) would ban asylum for any applicant (including unaccompanied children traveling alone) who seeks protection at the U.S. southern border if they have not first applied for protection in at least one country through which they travel on the way to the U.S. The rule is expected to go into effect tomorrow.

In response to the anticipated release of the rule, Michelle Brané, senior director of migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), issued the following statement:

“Like the previous travel and asylum bans, this is the latest attempt by President Trump to try to undermine and eliminate asylum by circumventing both Congress and existing law. This rule violates both domestic and international law and is an abdication of our moral responsibility to protect vulnerable people. Seeking asylum is a legal right. Seeking safety is a human right.

“This rule will put desperate people fleeing for their lives at risk of being returned to the dangers they were forced to escape in the first place.

“People seeking refuge are not required to seek asylum in the first country they set foot in. In fact, many face grave dangers in neighboring countries, as well as serious risks that they will be returned to their country of persecution.

“Today’s abhorrent action is a continuation of President Trump’s campaign of terror against families seeking safety that he has been waging since coming into office. It is a deliberate decision. This administration knows full well that there are actual solutions to addressing immigration issues that would both restore order and uphold America’s refugee laws and treaty commitments.

“These include tackling the root causes pushing people to flee the Northern Triangle countries by implementing a targeted strategy that leverages both diplomacy and aid; focusing on effective programs that reduce violence and combat corruption, that strengthen rule of law, and that protect vulnerable populations and promote sustainable economic development. In the meantime, the United States absolutely can handle processing those seeking refuge at our shores. This has been proven time and time again. The truth is that this administration has no desire to engage in solutions. It is hell bent on scoring political points by destroying lives.”