© Aaron Schwartz


The Trump Administration has published an interim final rule that will dramatically reduce the number of aliens who can apply for asylum in the United States.

The rule authorizes asylum officers in expedited removal proceedings and immigration judges in regular removal proceedings to conduct a threshold screening to determine whether an alien is barred by a Safe Third Country agreement from applying for asylum. Aliens who are barred will have to choose between applying for asylum in a Safe Third Country and going home (unless they have some other basis for lawful status in the United States).

Those would be the only choices: apply elsewhere or go home.

The United States currently has Safe Third Country agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Canada; the agreement with Canada, however, is subject to different rules.

The new rule applies prospectively to aliens who arrive at a United States port of entry — or who enter or attempt to enter the United States between ports of entry — on or after Nov. 19, 2019.

Immigration advocates may be successful in challenging this rule in the lower federal courts, but I expect the Supreme Court to find that it is a lawful exercise of statutory authority.

Safe Third Country agreements are not new

Safe Third Country agreements were created to make it possible for countries to share the responsibility of aiding asylum seekers. In 1991, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees invited such agreements to foster international cooperation.

The United States desperately needs international assistance with asylum seekers. Its immigration courts have so many cases now that the American Bar Association says they are on the brink of collapse.

Read more at https://thehill.com/opinion/immigrat...tries-that-are

Published originally on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @NolanR1or at https://nolanrappaport.blogspot.com