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Trump’s Immigration Reforms, Summer 2019

Reflections on Trump’s relentless pursuit for Immigration reform

President Trump’s recent “Safe third country asylum agreement” is clearly just one further bullet point on the Whitehouse’s growing bucket list for reducing immigration into the U.S.

With the latest changes to Public Charge rules and its definition, which will again tighten ‘eligibility’ for those potential immigrants who are in receipt of or need to rely on public assistance programs, is the Whitehouse slowly eroding the hope of and opportunity for poorer immigrants to the United States?

Paraphrasing Lady Liberty?

One poignant observation just about sums up the relentless push of the Trump administration to change the face of immigration. Responding to controversial comments made by Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the director of United States Citizenship who paraphrased the poem in the Statue of Liberty earlier this month to exclude  the “Wretched”, Beto O’Rourke, former Democratic congressman from the borderlands of West Texas who is now running for president, retorted on Twitter with: “This administration finally admitted what we’ve known all along: They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people,”

Whatever the ramifications of this new 837-page regulation, some believe it is just one further step towards selective immigration standards and that it is designed to discourage poorer background immigrants from the likes of the Caribbean and Mexico. Opposers to the new rule have already filed lawsuits to a court in California requesting to block the new regulations.

The New York Times reviewed Trump’s latest Public Charge definition changes in an article which aptly summarizes; “In doing so, it will have gone a long way toward engineering Mr. Trump’s goal of redefining what it is to be an American immigrant — without needing approval from lawmakers.”

Just another move to delay and Block Central American Immigration?

 So, what of the new Safe third country Asylum agreement? Time will tell, but for now, this agreement with Guatemala, who having been cajoled by Trump to sign, now means that asylum seekers from the likes of Honduras and El Salvador will need to claim asylum in Guatemala before trying for it in the U.S.

Prior to signing the agreement with Guatemala, the Trump administration attempted to deny asylum to most migrants unless they first apply for protection in at least one country they pass through on their way. However, the new policy has been put on hold in part by a federal judge in California, who deemed it “inconsistent with the existing asylum laws.”

While Trump is not getting all his own way, it appears there is still hope for poorer migrants, whether they are fleeing the violence in Central America or simply looking for the American dream. Courts have previously rejected other policies that would tighten asylum, including the Whitehouse’s attempt to deny refuge to any migrant who crossed the border illegally.

The erosion of immigrant’s rights to asylum continues, but so does its opposition. The Statue of Liberty still represents the hopes of those wishing to start a new life in the U.S. Even president Trump is finding it difficult to change the words once indelibly etched.

What to do if you have questions about Trump’s changes this summer

 If you have any questions or concerns about President Trump’s changes to immigration rules this summer or need assistance with any family or business immigration matter you think may be affected by recent changes, then contact Fong Ilagan today at: 713.772.2300. Our immigration Attorneys are experts in all fields of immigration and are looking forward to helping you with your immigration needs.




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