WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A new asylum rule issued by the Trump administration would prevent the majority of Central American migrants from applying for asylum in the U.S.
Those who oppose the executive order question its legality.
The new rule would ban people from applying for asylum if they traveled through another country.
“What is happening today is individuals are coming through one, two, three other countries and never claiming asylum,” said House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
McCarthy said the action is necessary because the current asylum system is overwhelmed with claims.
“We want to make sure we protect those who truly need it but this is a system that’s created a loophole that actually puts it in doubt — protecting those who need it,” said McCarthy.
Democrats say the reason those asylum seekers don’t ask for protection in Mexico is that it’s not safe there, either.
The American Civil Liberties Union announced it will file a lawsuit to challenge the rule and Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) said the president may be going too far.
“I think legally it’s not clear whether or not the president can institute this executive order, although he’s done so in the past and courts have found them to be unconstitutional,” Costa said.
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) said Democrats have proposed legislation to deal with the problem.
“It addresses root causes in the northern triangle countries that cause migrants to flee,” said Durbin. “It cracks down on traffickers exploiting migrants.”
The Democrats’ plan would also allow migrants to apply for asylum in their home countries.
Still, both sides continue to point fingers and there have been few agreements on how to deal with the problem that’s led to a backlog of hundreds of thousands of asylum cases.