Trump administration proposes new asylum restrictions on International Migrant Day

Ramisa Rob

To celebrate International Migrants Day on Wednesday, the United Nations rolled out the #WeTogether hashtag on social media to draw attention to the struggles of 272 million migrants. The Trump administration, meanwhile, spent the day unveiling proposals to tighten eligibility requirements for U.S. asylum seekers, CNN reports.

The proposed changes seek to disqualify "foreign nationals who have been convicted of possession of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, unlawful use of public benefits, a crime related to gang activity or any felony," including those found "to have engaged in acts of battery or extreme cruelty in a domestic context" while living in the U.S., CBS News reports.

While the changes represent "a significant and notable expansion" of the crimes that would "block migrants from being eligible for asylum," the proposed rules wouldn't necessarily have a huge effect, as "many asylum-seekers have not had the opportunity to be in the U.S. long enough or at all to come in contact with the criminal justice system," Sarah Pierce, an analyst at the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute, told CBS. The rules would apply to crimes committed in the U.S.

However, last year, around "74,000 of the 143,000 people arrested by ICE officers were convicted or arrested on charges of driving under the influence, in addition to being in the U.S. illegally," notes The New York Times. The proposed change will be open to public comment for 30 days starting Thursday.

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