May 23, 2019

The Absurdity of Trump's New Asylum Rules

“America’s asylum system is far from perfect. For all President Trump’s counterfactual caterwauling about the nature of the crisis at the border and what we should do to fix it, he is not wrong that a problem exists. Why and how that problem ought to be addressed is something reasonable, well-intentioned people can debate.

Much less debatable is the merit of Trump’s Monday night directive asking for new asylum rules to be implemented within 90 days. Particularly notable — and appalling — among Trump’s requests were the demands for “a fee for an asylum application,” “a fee for an initial application for employment authorization for the period an asylum claim is pending,” and a ban on work authorization for migrants who “entered or attempted to enter the United States unlawfully … before any applicable application for relief or protection from removal has been granted.”

It remains to be seen whether these proposals will ever take effect. They may be blocked in court — and so they should. This order does nothing to distinguish between those with and without legitimate asylum claims; makes obtaining asylum substantially harder for legitimate claimants; makes reliance on public assistance programs more likely; and, by forcing desperate, unemployed people to spend money they don’t have, could incentivize some of the very behavior Trump says he wants to stop at the border.”

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