WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
14 Apr 2020 | Podcast

“This is Patently Illegal”: The Undermining of Asylum at the U.S.-Mexico Border

With a series of measures in 2018 and 2019, culminating with its response to the coronavirus, the Trump administration has virtually eliminated the right to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. It has done so at a time when, amid unprecedented human mobility throughout Latin America, record numbers of people were asking U.S. border officials for protection.

These rapid developments have made the right to seek asylum at the border a central concern for U.S. human rights policymaking in the hemisphere. But asylum law and immigration policy are very complicated: not at all for beginners.

In this episode of the WOLA Podcast, Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy counsel at the American Immigration Council, walks us through this complexity. He explains why a right to ask for asylum exists in U.S. law, and how the asylum system is supposed to work, from arrival at the border through the U.S. immigration court system. He then explains the steps that the Trump administration has taken, at every step of the asylum process, to steadily decimate the right to seek protection at the US-Mexico border.

Reichlin-Melnick, an experienced immigration attorney, does a very able job here of making the complicated asylum process understandable, patiently walking listeners through each step. Learn more at the American Immigration Council’s website, and especially at Aaron’s active Twitter account, a cornerstone of “immigration Twitter.”