Skip to main content

US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a group of Republican senators in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration is set to harden the rules this week on those allowed to seek asylum in the United States, as it attempts to stem a wave of migration on its southern border with Mexico.

In a fast-track regulation set to publish in the Federal Register on Tuesday, the administration has created a framework that will allow asylum seekers to be sent to other nations that have negotiated bilateral agreements to accept them.

Previously, officials in the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump have argued that migrants with a valid need for asylum should seek protection in the first ‘safe’ country where they have the chance to apply, since many migrants travel through multiple countries on their way to the U.S. border.

Story continues below advertisement

However, the new regulation states that asylum seekers may be sent to any other countries with which the United States has asylum agreements that permit such an action - even if they did not first transit through those nations.

The regulation is the latest action by Trump to restrict asylum access in the United States. Trump has made immigration - and curbing the number of mostly Central American migrants arriving at the border - a major theme in his reelection campaign.

The United States already maintains a bilateral asylum deal with Canada. Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have also signed such deals in recent months, but the pacts have not been finalized.

The regulation released on Monday will amend U.S. guidelines to permit similar deals with other nations.

Other Trump measures have sought to restrict asylum eligibility or force migrants to wait in Mexico pending the resolution of their claims, but not force asylum seekers to pursue their claims in another country.

Migrants who may be sent to a third country under the new regulation will have an opportunity to prove that they’re “more likely than not” to be persecuted or tortured in that country, but advocates argue that will be a high hurdle.

Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy counsel at the pro-migrant American Immigration Council, said the regulation could reshape the U.S. asylum system.

Story continues below advertisement

“If this rule fully goes into effect, virtually no one who arrived at the southern border would ever be allowed to ask for asylum in the United States,” he said.

A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman said on Saturday that implementation of the asylum agreement with Guatemala would occur soon, but did not provide a specific timeline. The department did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies