President Trump’s Latest Proclamation Endangers Asylum-Seekers

Immigration is one of the most passionately debated topics in the news today. Political parties and the general public are critically divided on just how this country should manage the countless migrants desperately seeking asylum in America.

Since his inauguration, President Trump has been ratifying legislation that greatly impacts the lives of both undocumented migrants and naturalized citizens. For example, on November 9, 2018, President Trump signed a proclamation to prevent asylum-seekers from illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border by deliberately funneling them through regulated points of entry. Any undocumented migrants who attempt to cross the border illegally will be arrested—even if they are unaccompanied minors. The expectation behind this proclamation is that border officials should be able to monitor and limit how many migrants are able to make official asylum claims. However, many news media outlets and immigrants’ rights groups predicted that this proclamation would dangerously congest the border and put countless migrants in danger.

Two weeks later, on November 25, 2018, these predictions became reality as the U.S. government used tear gas on asylum-seeking migrants attempting to illegally cross the San Ysidro port of entry. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson defended the use of tear gas against migrant adults and children, stating that “Some of these migrants attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border and sought to harm [Customs and Border Protection] personnel by throwing projectiles at them. As I have continuously stated, DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons.” President Trump, who calls asylum-seeking migrants “violent criminals” in aggressive speeches and thoughtless tweets, is using this event to pressure Congress into finally funding his border wall.

However, the Trump Administration is once again facing severe backlash after footage of this incident revealed children suffering from the side-effects of tear gas. Despite its name, tear gas is not a “gas,” but aerosolized solid compounds that irritate the mucus membranes in a person’s eyes, mouth, nose and lungs. It typically causes pain, difficulty breathing, and temporary blindness.

Deputy Political Director Lorella Praeli at the ACLU responded to these reports by declaring, “Under no circumstances should [Customs and Border Protection] be using tear gas on children. This show of violence is outrageous and inhumane. The migrants at our southern border are human beings, including mothers and small children, who are exercising their legal, human right to seek asylum. Trump’s obsessive, racist crusade against immigrants will continue to inflict human pain and suffering until Congress is willing to step up and conduct real oversight.” Deputy Political Director Praeli also commented that Congress has until December 7th to decide if Customs and Border Protection’s budget should be increased. She states, “Those who would give this agency a raise should recall the families ripped apart at the border and now, toddlers choking on tear gas, in their decision.”

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Pursuing asylum is an extremely complex legal process that demands the attention and knowledge of a skilled attorney. At K. Dean Kantaras, P.A., our experienced Clearwater immigration advocates have a comprehensive understanding of federal immigration laws and can help refugees who fear deportation due to persecution in their native countries. 

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