The Biden administration is reviving, with slight cosmetic changes, the Trump-era regulation that would ban almost all asylum seekers. Two articles from today’s news highlight the desperation of children and adults seeking asylum. The new anti-asylum regulation is open for public comment before it taking effect. Click here to send a public comment. And scroll down for a more complete description of the regulation and call to action from the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.
Drawings by children waiting at the border show what they have fled and what they hope for in the United States—but they may never have a chance to realize those hopes and dreams.
[BuzzFeed] “When Felicia Rangel-Samponaro asks the hundreds of children who’ve passed through her makeshift schools in the Mexican border cities of Matamoros and Reyonoso to draw what they think the United States is like, she already knows what they’ll make before they pick up their crayons.
“’Rainbows,’ said Rangel-Samponaro, founder and codirector of the Sidewalk School, a nonprofit providing schooling and shelter to children seeking asylum and their families. ‘They all draw rainbows.’
“The stories told by the children in their drawings below help explain their reasons for leaving their homelands, their current realities on the border, and their future ambitions al otro lado — on the other side, in the US. The drawings show not only what — but who — is at stake should the Biden administration enact its proposal.”
One victory for an asylum seeker, after years of litigation and separation from her children: but the future of asylum itself remains uncertain.
[NPR] “When Anabel fled El Salvador, she had to leave quickly, without saying goodbye to her children.
“Eight years later, she is waiting nervously in the international terminal at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where she’s about to reunite with those children — and to meet her two grandchildren in person for the first time.
“Already, she’s crying tears of happiness. …
“But the reunion is bittersweet for [attorney Blaine] Bookey and other immigrant advocates. For one thing, they say, it should have happened years ago. And it comes just as the Biden administration is considering new rules that would make it harder for migrants arriving at the border to get asylum — including, those advocates argue, women like Anabel.
“‘It shouldn’t be this hard,’ Bookey said. ‘And just the games that we’re playing with people’s lives like hers.'”
Say No to Ending Asylum (Action Alert from the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota)
A new anti-asylum rule proposed by the Biden administration echoes one of the worst violations of U.S. asylum law attempted by the Trump administration. The rule attempts to bar asylum seekers who have passed through a third country from applying for asylum in the United States. This blatant violation of human rights and U.S. and international law cannot be allowed to stand.
The new regulation says that any asylum seekers coming through a third country will face a “rebuttable presumption” of ineligibility. In effect, this new rule would limit asylum to Mexicans, Canadians, people arriving in small boats, and those with the money and connections to obtain visas and airline tickets.
The “rebuttable presumption” requires asylum seekers to prove “imminent and extreme” threats to life or safety or a medical emergency. Without these exceptional circumstances, they will not even be allowed to apply for asylum. Asylum seekers, already exhausted by long overland journeys and traumatized by violence in their countries of origin and during these journeys, will find this a near-impossible challenge.
This ban is illegal, inhumane, and dangerous. It violates U.S. asylum law, which gives any person present in or arriving in the United States an absolute right to apply for asylum. U.S. asylum law says that time spent in a third country only bars people passing through a designated ‘safe third country’ or having ‘firmly resettled’ in a third country. Neither Mexico nor any Central American country is designated as a ‘safe third country’.
The government is required to review and respond to comments on the regulation in writing in the Federal Register. Click here to send a public comment before March 27. To make sure the government counts and considers your comment, please edit the pre-drafted suggestion to make it unique – duplicate comments will otherwise be lumped together and responded to as one.