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World News | US restricts asylum to migrants passing through third countries


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WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (AP) — The Biden administration says it routinely denies asylum to migrants who show up at the U.S. southern border without first seeking protection in the countries they passed through, mirroring Trump’s The government’s attempt never took effect because it was blocked in court.

The measure, while not an outright ban, imposes very strict restrictions on asylum of any nationality other than Mexicans, who do not have to pass through a third country to reach the United States.

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The measure will not take effect immediately and will almost certainly face legal challenges. President Donald Trump imposed a similar ban in 2019, but a federal appeals court blocked it from taking effect. It will also be subject to revision following a 30-day public comment period.

Administration officials expect the rule to take effect when the pandemic-era rule for denying asylum on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19 ends. The rule, known as the Title 42 mandate, was set to expire on May 11 but was delayed twice by legal challenges from states led by Republicans.

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The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice argue that the surge in immigration has left them little choice. If no action is taken after Title 42 ends, they expect illegal border crossings to climb to 11,000 to 13,000 a day, above the daily average of 6,500 for the government’s fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

Section 42 was due to end in late December until the Supreme Court ordered it to remain in effect. Daily crossings climbed to 7,700 in early November and 8,600 by mid-December, as migrants and smugglers widely expected the rule to end, administration officials said.

The proposed rule establishes a “rebuttable presumption of ineligibility for asylum” for anyone who arrives at the U.S.-Mexico border through another country without first seeking protection there, according to a notice in the Federal Register. Exclusions will be for those who have an “imminent medical emergency”, “imminent and extreme threat” of a violent crime such as murder, rape or kidnapping, are a victim of human trafficking or “other extremely compelling circumstances” .

U.S. officials insist the measure differs from Trump’s largely because there is room for immunity and that the Biden administration offers other legal avenues, especially for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and Ukrainians humanitarian parole.

“We are a nation of immigrants, and we are a nation of laws. We are enhancing the availability of lawful, orderly pathways for immigrants to enter the United States, while introducing new rules for those who fail to use the processes the United States and its regional partners provide them. Consequences,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorcas.

Costa Rica and Mexico have the strongest asylum systems for asylum seekers traveling north across Central America and Mexico to the U.S. border. However, both countries have been overwhelmed by a surge in asylum applications in recent years.

Costa Rica, a country of just 5 million inhabitants, will be second only to the US, Germany and Mexico in the number of asylum applications it will receive in 2021. In December, President Rodrigo Chavez ordered changes to the asylum system, claiming it was being abused by economic migrants.

Most of those who have sought asylum in Costa Rica in recent years have been Nicaraguans fleeing repression in the country. In 2012, Costa Rica received only 900 asylum applications. Last year, the total was around 80,000.

That created a huge backlog and lengthened the process, which led more Nicaraguans to look north to the United States last year.

Mexico has been facing an increasing number of asylum claims for years, receiving 118,478 last year, mostly from Honduras, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela. Many migrants who lacked other options had used the asylum system as a way to legally cross Mexico while being processed and then attempt to cross the U.S. border.

Other countries along the northern migration route have very limited capacity to receive asylum seekers. Some countries, such as Mexico, are suffering from severe violence, while others are economically depressed and have few resources to offer. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)


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