Trump Threatens To Block All Asylum Seekers At The Southern Border

DHS calls on the Army to beat back migrant caravan

NEW YORK, NY – Yesterday, new reports revealed that President Donald Trump is considering an order to unilaterally reject refuge, safety, and entry into the United States for asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border. Trump has already directed the Secretary of Defense to send at least 800 active duty military members to the border.

The migrant caravan includes thousands of asylum seekers from Honduras and other Central American countries fleeing violence, political conflict, and death threats to themselves and loved ones. The administration has absurdly characterized them as a threat to national security.

Preliminary drafts of the order reveal the President intends to use the same legal justification that allowed him to invoke the Muslim Ban, which currently bars immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations entry into the United States.

Steven Choi, the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said:

“Trump is using fear tactics to gin up his base on the backs of defenseless people fleeing violence, in clear violation of domestic and international law. It’s nothing more than a cynical election year strategy meant to stoke racial tensions for political gain. America is a bully nation now, and we’ll never be safer or greater by demonizing rape survivors, families escaping domestic abuse, and children fleeing gang violence.”

Background

On Thursday, October 12, a migrant caravan departed from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Since then, it has moved through Guatemala and into Mexico. The origins of the caravan are unknown. The media has reported that the groups include families, women and children who are relying on assistance from Mexican nationals to continue their journey.

On October 25, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was considering taking administrative action to undermine the country’s asylum laws in order to prevent entry of Central American migrants seeking protection. The president would use his authority under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the same authority invoked for the Muslim ban) to declare certain migrants ineligible for asylum because it “would be contrary to the national interest” and “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

Additionally, the President ordered the Secretary of Defense to send an additional 800-1000 active duty military member to the southern border to assist in border operations. By law, members of the military are not allowed to engage in domestic law enforcement, including apprehension or detention of migrants, and so have been ordered to play a “support” role.

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