This post is contributed by Rachel McGonagill, a writer, activist and unexpected immigration wonk, currently living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three cats, in an amazing neighborhood made up mostly of immigrants.
Tomorrow is the last day to offer comments in the federal register on a proposed new rule by the Department of Justice – a rule that would deny the right to asylum for anyone who traversed another, third country between their home and our border. In effect, this rule would make it all but impossible for anyone–aside from Mexican citizens–to claim asylum at our southern border. Anyone else who comes to that border would necessarily have passed through Mexico. This includes Salvadorans, Hondurans and Guatemalans, which we’ve heard so much about lately, but also Cubans, Venezuelans, Sudanese, Haitians, Liberians, Congolese–this latter, the largest growing refugee group in Arizona.
One major problem with this new rule is that it’s an attempt to rewrite an existing law through Executive Branch fiat. Our own current law–in addition to international agreements we have signed over the years–states the only time a third country may be used to prohibit an asylum claim is when we have a mutual Third Safe Country Agreement with that country. Currently, we only have such an agreement with Canada.
This information is readily available on the US Immigration and Naturalization Services website.
The rule itself is unlawful.
Even though Trump has tried his very super hardest, he has been unable to convince Mexico to make a Third Safe Country Agreement with us…at least in part because they are not a SAFE country, by any stretch.
The other major problem with this rule change is that, similarly to how the “public charge” rule change the administration posted two days ago targets poor immigrants, this DOJ rule unfairly targets poor asylum seekers. Wealthier asylum seekers will have the wherewithal to fly directly from their home into the United States, instead of traveling through Mexico…or any other country for that matter. It’s no accident that most “wealthier” asylum seekers will not be the brown, Southern Hemisphere candidates currently coming to Arizona, California and Texas.
Racism and this administration’s immigration policy go hand in hand.
Only 1,200 comments have been left so far on this illegal, racist rule change! But there is still one day left to make a BIG difference.
Please help advocate for those who have no one else to speak for them: LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD HERE!