SAN DIEGO – One of President Donald Trump’s top priorities for immigration, if he wins a second term, would be to use agreements with Central American governments as models to get countries around the world to apply for asylum from asylum seekers in the United States. , a top adviser said Friday.
Stephen Miller, a key architect of Trump’s immigration policy, said the agreements would help stop “asylum fraud, shopping and asylum abuse on a global scale.”
Miller, in an interview with the Associated Press, also predicted a broader offensive against so-called “sanctuaries” jurisdictions that restrict co-operation with federal immigration authorities, saying the administration would use its “full power, resources and authority.”
The asylum cooperation agreements the administration concluded in 2019 allowed asylum seekers from El Salvador and Honduras to be transferred to Guatemala for the opportunity to seek asylum, denying them the opportunity to apply to the United States.
From November to March, when the coronavirus pandemic halted flights to Guatemala, only 20 of the 939 Hondurans and El Salvadorani flying there sought refuge. Almost all returned home to what became known as “deportation by stay.”
Like many of Trump’s policies that drastically transform the U.S. immigration system, bilateral agreements are being challenged in court. Critics note that asylum seekers are sent to countries with high levels of violence and poverty and little infrastructure to process asylum applications.
The coronavirus struck before flights to Honduras and El Salvador began, delaying the launches.
Trump and Democrat Joe Biden paid little attention to immigration in their 2020 campaigns, despite a lively exchange during Thursday’s debate over news that court-appointed lawyers could not find parents to 545 children who were separated from their families early in the Trump administration.
Trump has not yet outlined in detail the priorities for the second term of immigration, although he has openly toyed with attempts to repeal the constitutional right to citizenship for anyone born in the United States.
Biden has pledged to repeal many, but not all, of Trump’s policies. In terms of the pandemic and other problems, it’s not clear how much appetite Biden will have to have to deal with everything Trump has done.
Biden’s campaign spokesman Mike Gwyn, responding to Miller’s comments, stressed how far immigration candidates are.
“We will win this election so that people like Stephen Miller don’t have a chance to write more xenophobic policies to disgrace our American values,” Gwyn said. “Unlike Trump, Vice President Biden knows that immigrants make America stronger and helped build this country, and as president he will ensure that they continue to play the vital role they have played throughout our history: enriching our communities, strengthen our economy and serve our nation in uniform. “
Biden will introduce legislation within the first 100 days to pave the way for the country’s citizenship illegally, return the delayed action program to childhood, protect young people from deportation, and “restore America’s historic commitment.” to asylums and asylum seekers. , Said Guin.
Biden is silent on his campaign website about the Trump administration’s asylum agreements with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador last year, but says he will put an end to “harmful” policies, including the cornerstone of Trump’s asylum efforts. to wait in Mexico for hearings in the U.S. Immigration Court.
Administration officials discussed the addition of African and Asian countries to create a global network of agreements similar to those with Central American governments. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were under strong pressure from the United States to agree last year, with Trump sometimes threatening to cut off international aid.
Such agreements could be offered to countries that send large numbers of asylum seekers to the United States, such as Cameroon or China.
Trump, who made immigration a problem with his signatures in his 2016 campaign, introduced a series of regulations in recent months that are expected to be finalized soon after the inclusion of public feedback. It is largely a matter of restricting asylum.
Administration officials are also looking for ways to eliminate the H-1B lottery for highly skilled workers, many in the technology industry, by replacing it with another selection method. H-1B visas are limited to 85,000 per year.
Miller said the administration will continue its efforts to redefine the criteria for legal immigration, which are now largely based on family ties.