DESPARDES — United Nation’s Refugee Agency, UNHCR, is “deeply concerned” about the new rule barring from asylum majority of the people crossing U.S-Mexico border, saying the “severe” measure will endanger vulnerable people in need of international protection from violence or persecution.
“We understand that the U.S. asylum system is under significant strain. And we are ready to play a constructive role if needed in helping alleviate this strain,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a statement.
A new fast-track asylum regulation will prevent migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. if they first pass through another country and don’t apply for protection in that nation.
The Trump administration contends the previous standard was too low and allowed migrants easy passage into the U.S.
The regulation — first reported by POLITICO in May — will effectively cut off asylum protections for Central American migrants who travel to the U.S.-Mexico border from their home country.
The measure published in final form in the Federal Register Tuesday took effect immediately. Migrants who entered the U.S. before the effective date will not be subject to the new standard, according to an advance notice posted online Monday.
The move, which comes as President Donald Trump continues to grapple with a recent surge of migration on the southwest border, likely will face court challenges. A federal judge in November temporarily halted a similar Trump policy that blocked migrants who cross between ports of entry from seeking asylum.
Meanwhile, the new Greek government has announced plans to tackle migration, including: securing borders and speeding up asylum processes.