Trump’s draconian immigration policies are making things much harder for victims of severe violence and human trafficking: report

Trump’s draconian immigration policies are making things much harder for victims of severe violence and human trafficking: report
Overcrowding of families observed by OIG on June 10, 2019, at Border Patrol’s McAllen, TX, Station. Source: Office of the Inspector General

During his eight years in office, President Barack Obama was often criticized by immigrants’ rights activists for the record number of deportations that occurred under his watch; one activist who appeared as a guest on the Spanish-language Univision network’s “Al Día” called Obama “el Rey de las Deportaciónes” (the King of Deportations). Yet the draconian immigration policies of President Donald Trump make the deportations of the Obama era look like the good old days — and Axios’ Stef W. Kight, in a report published on Friday morning, describes the way in which Trump has been making things much more difficult for refugees fleeing brutal violence and human trafficking.

Kight acknowledges in the report that “there are always cases of fraud in the immigration system” and that “not everyone who applies for asylum” or the T visa (which is for human trafficking victims) is going to be accepted. To be sure, not everyone who applied for asylum during the Obama years was accepted. Rejections were always a possibility. But what has changed under Trump, Kight reports, is that “in the name of getting tough on fraud,” the number of “visa denial rates for asylum and T visas have skyrocketed, while the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. has plummeted.”

Immigration attorney Evangeline Chan, according to Kight, noted that T visa applicants have been receiving “requests for more evidenceof sex or labor trafficking.” And Chan told Axios, “There are a lot of decisions being rushed” — which she attributes to pressure from the Trump Administration.

Refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been fleeing the threat of gang violence, arguing that their lives are in severe danger in those countries. And one Trump policy that has been making it harder for asylum seekers is a rule that they must apply for asylum in the first country they get to rather than at the U.S./Mexico border; so in other words, an asylum seeker from Guatemala would need to apply in Mexico.

Kight concludes the Axios report with a quote from Leon Rodriguez, former director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). According to Rodriguez, “You can always reverse-engineer intellectual justifications for what you’re doing, but I think it’s really that political motivation that’s behind all of this.”


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