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‘This Takes Away All Hope’: Rule Bars Most Applicants for Asylum in U.S.

Though Guatemala eventually caved to the administration’s pressure, and reached a safe third country agreement with the United States, Mexico remained firm in its refusal.

Now, with the Supreme Court allowing the asylum rule to go into effect, some feel the United States got what it wanted anyway — without the other countries’ consent.

“This is the latest step in terms of Trump’s policies to push Mexico to become a safe third country, and to make a big chunk of the migration flow stay in Mexico permanently and deter them from traveling north,” said Raúl Benítez, a professor of international relations at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

The Mexican government, for its part, insists the move is not the same as a safe third country arrangement, which would require a bilateral agreement and would automatically send the majority of asylum seekers back to Mexico for good.

Neither Mexican officials nor independent experts believe it will lead to an immediate influx of returnees to Mexico. Instead, it could leave those who have been returned to Mexico while they await hearings more likely to stay because they will not be granted protection in the United States.

While the new rules will inhibit most migrants from applying for asylum, there are other forms of protected status that remain open to them, though the bar to entry is much higher.

Under current asylum law, individuals must show a credible fear, which is figured to be a 10 percent chance that they will face persecution if sent back home. The threshold for the two remaining protections now — so-called withholding status and qualification under the convention against torture — is reasonable fear. To qualify, the applicant must show a probability of being persecuted back home that is greater than 50 percent.

“The people affected by this policy are the most vulnerable — those without lawyers and those without knowledge of the system,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, an immigration attorney with the Immigration Council. “Those without lawyers are being asked to meet a standard almost impossible for someone uneducated in asylum law to meet.”

Source: NYT > World News

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