Charanya Krishnaswami, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International, said it was inhumane and cruel to force people fleeing violence to seek safety in places that are as dangerous as the homes they fled. “Everyone seeking protection has the right to humane treatment and a fair asylum process under U.S. and international law,” she said.
In federal court in Washington, two advocacy groups made similar arguments against the new policy.
But that judge, Timothy J. Kelly, found that the groups did not sufficiently support their claim that “irreparable harm” would be done to the plaintiffs in the case if the policy were not blocked. While the rule would affect migrants seeking asylum, the judge said, “the plaintiffs before me here are not asylum seekers.”
“They are only two organizations, one of which operates in the D.C. area, far from the southern border,” he added.
In recent years, the number of migrants petitioning for asylum has skyrocketed.
Migrant families and unaccompanied children have been turning themselves in to Border Patrol agents and then requesting asylum, which typically enables them to remain in the United States for years as their cases wind through the backlogged immigration courts. Only about 20 percent of them ultimately win asylum, according to the government, and many of those whose applications are rejected remain in the country unlawfully.
The administration announced the new asylum policy despite the fact that Guatemala and Mexico had not agreed to the plan, which means those countries have made no assurances that they would grant asylum to migrants intending to go to the United States. Talks with Guatemala broke down and the country’s president, Jimmy Morales, backed out of a meeting that had been scheduled for July 15 at the White House. On Wednesday, President Trump said that his administration was considering imposing tariffs on Guatemalan exports or taxing money sent home by migrants.
The new asylum rule is just one of many efforts by the Trump administration to curb the entry of migrants.
At ports of entry, Customs and Border Protection agents have significantly slowed the processing of applicants through metering — limiting how many migrants are processed to as few as a dozen per day.