Florida residents who are following the ongoing political debate over immigration will likely know that President Trump recently threatened to impose a tariff of 5% on all goods imported from Mexico. Those tariffs were put on hold when the Mexican government agreed to step up its efforts to stem the flow of migrants traveling from Central America to border crossing points in California, Arizona, and Texas. However, Trump now wants Mexico to go further by adopting a safe third country policy.
Such a policy would virtually eliminate asylum claims in the United States because it would require those seeking asylum to make their petitions in the first safe country they enter. The United States is bordered by Mexico and Canada, which are both considered safe countries. Mexico has already agreed to hold migrants while their asylum claims are being processed. This policy could leave individuals and families who are fleeing desperate conditions effectively stateless for months or years.
Trump claims a safe third country policy is needed because immigration authorities are being overwhelmed by thousands of economic migrants who do not qualify for asylum. Such a policy is stoking anti-immigrant sentiments in parts of Europe as migrants from troubled areas of the Middle East and Africa are straining the resources of maritime nations including Greece, Italy and Spain.
Experienced immigration attorneys may advise those seeking a new life in the United States to apply for one of the work or family-based visas available rather than file an asylum claim. This is because the overwhelming majority of asylum seekers are not able to convince immigration judges that they have a genuine and credible fear of persecution based on their political views, religious beliefs, race, or national origin. When migrants are able to provide evidence of such persecution, attorneys may advocate on their behalf during the process.