Featured Issue: Border Processing and Asylum

The past decade has been marked by a dramatic buildup of border security and the expenditure of enormous resources on border personnel, infrastructure, and surveillance, despite the fact that our southwest border is safer than it ever has been before. The Trump administration has insisted on a series of drastic changes to border processing, changes that have eroded the due process rights of asylum seekers and other migrants in border regions.

This featured issue page provides updates, analysis, and other resources on these policies that include the "Migrant Protection Protocols" program, the "turnback" of asylum seekers at ports of entry, a "zero tolerance" plan for prosecuting asylum seekers, the separation of families, and the increased use of detention on asylum seekers. Combined, the policies form an ever-present and increasing barrier to due process protections for migrants, threatening fundamental rights like access to counsel, and a fair day in court.

Read more about these policies:

Asylum Ban

Limitations on Asylum Seekers

On November 9, 2018, President Trump issued a proclamation that, in combination with a rule promulgated by DHS and DOJ, bars from seeking asylum individuals who enter the United States from Mexico between ports of entry. The proclamation guts key due process protections for asylum seekers. Under unambiguous laws passed by Congress, all persons arriving to the United States, whether at or between ports of entry, have the right to seek asylum. Not everyone is eligible for that relief; but everyone deserves a full and fair opportunity to pursue it. The proclamation is a transparent end run around our laws and has already come under legal challenge.

On July 16, 2019, the Trump administration issued a joint interim final rule—often referred to as the “Asylum Ban 2.0”—which makes all individuals who enter, attempt to enter, or arrive to the United States across the southern border ineligible for asylum if they have transited through at least one country outside of their country of origin, and have not applied for protection in that country. On September 11, 2019, the Supreme Court issued an order staying a prior injunction that had prevented the government from implementing the rule. The order means that the government can implement the Asylum Ban 2.0 while the case works its way through the courts. For more information on the litigation, see Barr v. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant.

AILA Resources

Government Announcements

Other Resources

Litigation

Remain in Mexico/Migrant Protection Protocols

On January 24, 2019, DHS announced it would begin implementing "Remain in Mexico," a new policy that would force individuals arriving at the U.S. southern border who are fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries to remain in Mexico pending an asylum hearing before a U.S. immigration judge. DHS has dubbed this plan, the "Migrant Protection Protocols." Remain in Mexico dramatically alters processing of asylum claims at the U.S. southern border and makes it far more difficult for asylum seekers to receive a fair and meaningful review of their claims as required under both U.S. and international law.

AILA Resources

Other Resources

Jewish Family Services:

Volunteer Opportunities:

Media Resources:

Government Announcements

Litigation

Border Security Resources

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Cite as AILA Doc. No. 19032731.

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