The Trump administration is officially attempting to end asylum protections for Central American migrants

Underage migrants at a shelter in California.
(Image credit: GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Trump administration is taking another step toward curbing immigration at the southern border. The new motion will surely face some fierce opposition.

A new rule, which is expected to be published in the Federal Register and go into effect on Tuesday, has declared asylum seekers who pass through another country first without applying for asylum in that country ineligible for asylum upon reaching the southern border of the United States, The Associated Press reports.

The rule would effectively end asylum protections for most Central American migrants, unless they are victims of human trafficking, were denied asylum in the country they passed through first, or if the the country they passed through does not adhere to one of the major international treaties governing how refugees are managed. It also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The policy is expected to face a legal challenge, AP reports. Currently, U.S. law makes no distinction between asylum requests — refugees can apply regardless of how they arrived in the United States, though there is one exception to the law. The U.S. and Canada have a mutual "safe third country" agreement. That is, asylum must be requested in whichever country the migrant arrives in first. What qualifies a country as "safe" under the Immigration and Nationality Act is vague, but, either way, an agreement is supposed to be "pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement." That does not appear to be what's happening here. Tim O'Donnell

See more

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.