If migrants are already safe in another country, why shouldn’t they apply for asylum there before coming to the United States and applying here?
That’s the perfectly sound logic behind a rule Team Trump put in place Monday: Migrants who pass through another country will be ineligible for US asylum unless they’ve first sought it, unsuccessfully, in that third country.
Naturally, advocate groups promptly filed legal challenges to the rule, arguing that Congress hasn’t specifically OK’d it. Their lead lawyer, Lee Gelernt, claims that current law requires foreigners to seek asylum in a third country only if that country has a formal deal with Washington and can “ensure a safe and meaningful opportunity to obtain asylum” there.
That’s far from clear. Attorney General William Barr insists the rule “is a lawful exercise of authority provided by Congress to restrict eligibility for asylum.”