Skip to Content

Trump Ban on Asylum for Most Central American Migrants ‘Unlawful’: Lawyer

An American Civil Liberties Union attorney says a new Trump administration rule that bars most Central American migrants from seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border is "patently unlawful."

Attorney Lee Gelernt says the rule, if it goes into effect, would effectively eliminate asylum for those at the southern border.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act governing asylum in the U.S., anyone can claim asylum at the border regardless of how he or she arrived. There are some exceptions, including whether an asylum seeker passed through a "safe" country first.

The new rule published Monday states that anyone who has crossed through another country to get to the U.S. is ineligible for asylum. It's expected to take effect Tuesday. Tens of thousands of migrant families from Central America have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border each month.

Attorney General William Barr says the new rule uses "a lawful exercise of authority."

More must-read stories from Fortune:

—What to expect from the second Democratic debate

—Who wins and loses as White House withdraws drug rebate plan

—A new holding center for migrant children is open in Texas

—Fed Chairman Powell: If Trump asks me to leave, I won’t

Tom Steyer mastered markets and now he wants to topple Trump

Get up to speed on your morning commute with Fortune’s CEO Daily newsletter.