Faced with absorbing vast numbers of asylum seekers who headed to Europe during the 2015-16 migration crisis and the ongoing arrival of much smaller, but steady flows of Central Americans at the U.S.-Mexico border, EU Member States and the United States in 2018 took or explored steps to narrow asylum and harden policies.
Some moves, such as Denmark’s decision to isolate a small number of failed asylum seekers on a deserted island, seem less about restoring order to the asylum system and more about conveying a tough message to would-be migrants and domestic constituencies that are exhibiting rising support for nationalist, anti-immigration political parties.
Others represent a significant reshaping of asylum policies, such as steps undertaken by the Trump administration to significantly narrow grounds to claim protection and the August enactment of an asylum and migration law in France designed to shorten asylum application deadlines, increase detention for asylum seekers, and expedite return for those who do not qualify.
In the United States, President Trump in November issued a proclamation restricting access to asylum for those entering the country illegally—a step particularly significant at a time the government is limiting the border ports of entry where asylum claims can be filed and the number of cases accepted each day, with resulting waits of weeks or more in Mexico. Quickly stayed by a federal judge, the administration’s plan appears headed to the Supreme Court. Separately, the United States is pressing Mexico to agree to a formal “Remain in Mexico” plan that would require asylum seekers to wait there while their cases are processed.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Top 10 of 2018 – Issue #7: Asylum Hangover? Governments Seek to Narrow Avenues for Humanitarian Protection | migrationpolicy.org