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Brief #58—Immigration

Policy Summary
In addition to the Trump Administration’s announcement of rolling back DACA (see Brief #57), they have recently announced new rules that give President Trump vast authority to deny asylum to virtually any migrant who crosses illegally. Trump specifically intends to deny asylum to the 7,000-10,000 migrants from Central America as they begin arriving in clusters from the Migrant Caravan (see Brief #56). If migrants do not enter through a designated port of entry, they will be “apprehended, detained and deported” unless they can prove they will be tortured if they are sent home. To some of the American public who have been following Trump’s far-fetched plans for reform, this might sound like similar rhetoric used to support the travel ban early in Trump’s presidency.

Though Trump wants to firmly establish a norm that individuals who cross the border illegally will be stripped of their eligibility to receive asylum in the US, many oppose and are challenging the Administrations most recent order. The ACLU has sued to block the new restrictions, calling the case “the asylum ban.” Other NGOs have resorted to referring to international law and the early origins of America as a nation that lends a hand to refugees and asylum seekers. Trump’s new order would violate international law, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and a founding principle of federal asylum in which any individual can apply for asylum regardless of where or how they entered the country and that each case is judged individually.

Analysis
The Trump Administration’s new order to revoke the rights of migrants the opportunity to seek asylum is yet another action taken with the goal of eliminating and strengthening the existing ‘weak’ immigration laws, as he has constantly reiterated throughout his campaign and presidency. This new order only further proves his commitment to propelling an anti-immigrant and anti-refugee daily agenda. Throughout the recent midterm elections, Trump has focused on the migrant caravan and posing them as a threat to the American public, continuously calling them an “invasion” and “dangerous.” By focusing on something as trivial as port of entry – in the larger picture of seeking refuge – he poses migrants as the law breakers, and those who do not follow the rules and turn themselves in at the border – a designated point of entry – and that they deserve to be stripped of their right to seek asylum. Referring to Trump’s track record of his treatment of migrants at the border, the point of entry does not seem to be the real issue but rather the concept of migration as a whole.

Resistance Resources

    • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
    • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
    • FWD.us: an organization that aims to promote the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream alive. They specifically and currently focus on immigration reform.

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