The US government is planning extensive restrictions on the right to asylum. In general, those migrants who did not first apply for asylum in a country they had crossed on their way to the southern border should be refused entry, according to a statement published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday, the AP news agency reports.
The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice argued that the increasing influx of asylum seekers left them no choice. The plan reminded observers of a similar plan by the previous government under Donald Trump in 2019, which was ultimately blocked by a court.
Government officials stressed that the new plans differ from Trump's because they leave room for exceptions. Asylum should continue to be granted to those who have an “acute medical emergency”, are immediately threatened by extremely violent crimes such as murder, rape and kidnapping, are victims of people smuggling or can show “other extremely compelling circumstances”.
Incidentally, President Joe Biden's administration has opened other legal routes to asylum, such as humanitarian protection programs for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and Ukrainians.
US circles have announced that the new rules will come into force as soon as a controversial asylum restriction from the early phase of the pandemic is due to expire in mid-May. The provision, called Title 42, provides for the rapid rejection of migrants with reference to protection against the spread of corona.
Title 42 should have ended at the end of December, but the US Supreme Court ruled that the rule should remain in place for the time being. Conservative US states had previously approached the Supreme Court with the argument that the increased influx of migrants was a burden on public services such as the police and health care.