Posted by Ryan Suto on November 09, 2018 in Blog

President Trump promulgated a new Presidential Proclamation today on amnesty along the southern border, which followed a new interim final rule from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the same topic.

Taken together, the policies prohibit migrants from seeking asylum unless they happen upon an established port of entry along the nearly 2,000-mile-long border. The policies also raise the burden of proof for those migrants who do come to a port of entry to seek asylum (requiring a “reasonable fear” instead of a “credible fear” of persecution or torture) in an attempt to decrease the number of migrants allowed entry into the country.

These actions come after weeks of President Trump stoking fears on the midterm campaign trail about an imminent “migrant caravan” heading toward the U.S. Trump claimed, without proof, that “Middle Easterners” are among those in the group in hopes to combine separate streams of xenophobia to create increased support for his isolationist policies.

Trump even deployed federal troops to the border, costing taxpayers up to $220 million, despite the reality that the Department of Defense (DOD) determined the small group of destitute victims of violence constitute no threat to U.S. national security, and expressed more concern over the white nationalist militias heading to the border, inspired by Trump’s rhetoric.  

Nonetheless, the new policy will take effect immediately and be in force for the next 90 days, which is renewable by the president. The statutory basis for the President’s authority for this unilateral action is exactly the same provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as was used for the Proclamation establishing the Muslim Ban, which was upheld earlier this year by the Supreme Court in Trump v. Hawai’i.

Expect legal challenges to this action, as the UN Convention Against Torture requires the government to extend asylum processes to migrants at any U.S. border.

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