On November 9, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued new procedural guidance essentially suspending entry for asylum seekers at the southern land border.
Under the presidential directive, the new policy places asylum seekers entering the U.S. anywhere other than a port of entry (such as an airport, a harbor, or a U.S. border town via which individuals may legally enter the United States) into expedited deportation proceedings instead of granting them access to the asylum process.
The issue is that legal ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border are bottlenecked, forcing despairing immigrants into the immigration limbo as the line to plead asylum grows. The precarious situation has led some migrants to seek refugee status through an illegal crossing.
With the stroke of a pen, the president has defied the most elementary of humanitarian principles and violated U.S. and international law through fear-mongering, claiming that refugees are flooding our country.
Justice and Homeland Security officials have said that they are negotiating with Mexico to accept deported immigrants, but do not have a time frame for when said negotiations would be finalized. Moving forward, Mexico will grant asylum to immigrants leaving Central America, mainly to those from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
The administration’s effectiveness at streamlining deportation proceedings is quite extraordinary considering their inability to get a handle on the process for those attempting to enter the U.S. through designated ports, as mandated by the U.S. law.