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Trump Administration Can Now Send Asylum Seekers to Guatemala

HeadlineNov 20, 2019

In immigration news, a federal judge in California has ruled the Trump administration’s asylum restrictions don’t apply to the tens of thousands of people who are currently in limbo at the U.S.-Mexico border. In July, the Trump administration imposed a new rule aimed at prohibiting migrants from applying for asylum if they crossed through a third country before arriving at the United States. The policy aimed to sharply limit the number of Central Americans, Africans and people from other regions who are eligible for asylum. But on Tuesday, Judge Cynthia Bashant of the Southern District of California ruled that asylum seekers who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border prior to the July rule aren’t subject to it and can still apply for asylum in the U.S.

Meanwhile, asylum seekers currently arriving at the U.S. border can now be sent to Guatemala, after the new asylum pact between the U.S. and Guatemala took effect Tuesday. Human rights advocates say the Trump administration’s new plan is particularly dangerous for female and LGBTQ asylum seekers. Guatemala has one of the highest rates of femicide — the murder of women — in the world. BuzzFeed reports that Homeland Security officials are still trying to work out basic details of the new plan to send asylum seekers to Guatemala. One Homeland Security Department brief states, “There is uncertainty as to who will provide orientation services for migrants as well as who will provide shelter, food, transportation, and other care.”

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