Trump to cut refugees to 18,000, give localities veto over resettlement

The Trump administration will propose cutting the number of refugees admitted in 2020 to 18,000, and will also call for a major restructuring of the program to align it with U.S. interests, including giving localities a say in whether they can accommodate the new arrivals. The plan will also reduce the role of the U.N. in picking America’s refugees, and instead give priority to religious minorities and Iraqis who have assisted the U.S. government, and to refugees the U.S has agreed to resettle on behalf of Australia. Officials submitted the proposal to Congress on Thursday, kicking off a consultation period that will conclude with President Trump making a final determination next month. But based on past consultations, the 18,000 number is likely to hold firm. It would be the lowest cap since the modern refugee system was created in 1980, and marks a 12,000 drop from the fiscal year 2019 cap, and a major reduction from the 110,000 refugee target the Obama administration tried to set for 2017. Even though the refugee number is low, the U.S. remains a leader in humanitarian protections, with some 350,000 asylum-seekers expected to begin claims next year. Asylum is protection granted to people already in the U.S., while refugees are those requesting protections from outside the country. There’s already a backlog of nearly 1 million asylum cases pending with Homeland Security and the immigration courts. A senior administration official said they view asylum and the refugee program in tandem, and as the number of migrants demanding asylum on the southwest border has surged, it’s natural that the government would cut the number of refugees it can handle. “Given the massive backlog we’ve got in humanitarian protection cases that are already in our country, it makes sense to prioritize that caseload before we go abroad looking for new refugees to resettle,” the official said..

This is a great first step, and WAY overdue.  For more, click on the text above…

Trump Administration Raises Bar for Asylum Seekers at Southern Border

The Trump administration announced changes in asylum regulations Monday morning that will “add a new bar to eligibility for asylum” for those migrants who appear at, or illegally cross the U.S. border from Mexico. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials announced Monday morning a new asylum rule that requires migrants to show proof that they applied for asylum protection in “at least one third-party country outside of the alien’s country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence.” “While the recent supplemental funding was absolutely vital to helping confront the crisis, the truth is that it will not be enough without targeted changes to the legal framework of our immigration system,” DHS Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan said in a written statement. “Until Congress can act, this interim rule will help reduce a major ‘pull’ factor driving irregular migration to the United States and enable DHS and DOJ to more quickly and efficiently process cases originating from the southern border, leading to fewer individuals transiting through Mexico on a dangerous journey.” The new rule, applied to 8 C.F.R. § 208.13(c) and 8 C.F.R. § 1208.13(c) adds a new eligibility requirement for migrants who enter or attempt to enter the U.S. via the southwestern border with Mexico. The rule will effectively bar migrants from claiming asylum, with certain exceptions, if they did not request asylum for protection from persecution or torture in at least one other country where asylum was available through which they traveled after leaving their point of origination.

Very smart!  And, much needed..  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

How migrants manipulate generous U.S. asylum system

A federal court of appeals ruling this month provides a peek at the U.S.’s generous asylum system that will have the effect of welcoming the impending instant mass migration from Central America. Some migrants among the caravan, due to arrive at the southern border within weeks, have told reporters they plan to capitalize on the years-long process to try to gain legal status. The court case involved Venezuelan Helegner Ramon Tijera Moreno. He deserted the army, came to America and sought asylum by declaring himself persecuted by Caracas‘ authoritarian socialist government. Two years later, he was before the 10th Circuit in Denver––a member of the second highest network of federal appeals courts below the Supreme Court. A three-judge panel on Oct. 22 denied Mr. Moreno’s petition. He cannot stay legally. The ruling provides a look at the long due process the U.S. provides each asylum seeker who merely has to step onto American soil and make the declaration to put off deportation. The court opinion also includes Mr. Moreno’s narrative on life inside a once-prosperous country now beset by economic turmoil, food shortages, crime, and a crackdown on dissent. It is easier to claim asylum than to ultimately prove a person deserves it. To ask for asylum via the online form No I-589, the person files inside the United States no matter how entry was gained––legally or illegally. As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states, “To obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process you must be physically present in the United States. You may apply for asylum status regardless of how you arrived in the United States or your current immigration status.” Federal law sets a high adjudication bar. The law says an alien must demonstrate he is a refugee “who is unable or unwilling to return to ….. that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of … race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political option.” To start the process, Mr. Moreno in 2016 first received a “credible-fear” interview by customs officials who determined he lacked valid entry documents and planned to deport him. He stopped the process by then applying for asylum and protection under the Convention Against Torture, ensuring he could not be removed. His next stop was before an immigration judge who denied his petition and ordered him deported. His third step was the Board of Immigration Appeals. “The BIA agreed with the [judge’s] conclusion that Mr. Moreno failed to show he suffered past persecution,” the 10th circuit opinion said. America’s immigration courts are busy places. The Center for Immigration Studies reported in May that there were 697,777 pending cases before immigration judges or about 2,090 per judge. In 2017, about 170,000 cases were completed. Of those, 9,840 were asylum proceedings, such as Mr. Moreno‘s, of which one-third were denied. Thus, the odds are an appliance will win legal status.

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