Local experts break down asylum law change

Border Report

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)- The Trump administration said it will end asylum protections for most Central American migrants as soon as Tuesday.

As KTSM previously reported, according to the plan published in the Federal Register migrants who pass through another country — in this case, Mexico — on their way to the U.S. will be ineligible for asylum. The rule also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.

Former El Paso Sector Border Patrol Chief Victor Manjarrez Jr. said he expects the changes will prompt more Border Patrol apprehensions at the Southern border.

“Right now they’re just surrendering, they’re coming across looking for a Border Patrol agent then they’ll go back to evading apprehension and what’s going to happen is when they get apprehended and deported, then you’ll start seeing the flow start to reduce on that but in essence this becomes a short term fix too,” Manjarrez Jr. said.

The new rule would cover countless would-be refugees, many of them fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.

Manjarrez Jr. said the long term solution needs to stem from those countries in which the asylum seekers are fleeing from, such as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

The rule change also affects many other asylum seekers who come to the U.S. Southern border from other countries.

“Unfortunately less than 15 percent of people who apply for asylum actually get it because they simply don’t qualify, they’re economic migrants,” Manjarrez Jr. said.

Trump administration officials have said the influx of Central American migrant families seeking asylum in the U.S. are mostly fleeing violence and poverty.

“The question is did the president do that purposely cause he could’ve said we’re not taking asylum seekers from these countries but he said specifically from the southern border,” UTEP Political Science professor Todd Curry said.

Curry questioned whether the executive order targets what he said are the poorest of those countries.

“Because the poorest are the ones traveling by foot or by caravan to the united states but if you could afford a direct flight from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, your port of entry is an airport,” Curry said.

The new rule won’t affect the thousands of Central American asylum seekers already in the U.S. or Mexico awaiting U.S. court dates for their cases.

Critics said the order is certain to face legal challenges by organizations and advocates such as the ACLU and the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center.

The rule goes into effect immediately Tuesday.

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