07:32 GMT +313 December 2018
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    A Central American migrant child, part of a caravan trying to reach the US, cries while waiting to apply for asylum in Mexico at a checkpoint in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, October 20, 2018

    ‘Harm is Already Done’ Despite Judicial Block of Trump’s Asylum Rules

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    On Monday, a San Francisco district court blocked a new proclamation signed by US President Donald Trump that bars migrants from applying for asylum if they enter the US illegally.

    Juan Carlos Ruiz, cofounder of the New Sanctuary Movement, a movement of "immigrant and over 800 faith communities doing what Congress and the Administration refuse to do: protect and stand with immigrants facing deportation," according to the organization's website, joined Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear to discuss the ruling.

    ​"The rule barring asylum for immigrants who enter the country outside a port of entry irreconcilably conflicts with the INA [Immigration and Nationality Act] and the expressed intent of Congress. Whatever the scope of the president's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden," US District Judge Jon Tigar said Monday, Sputnik previously reported. The injunction was signed on November 19 and will be effective until December 19. 

    "When people come through our [US] borders, they usually hand themselves over to Border Patrol. Border Patrol is in charge of accepting people. They basically do an interview to evaluate the claims. Most of these people [seeking asylum] are being persecuted. These people are practically being displaced by the violence in their home countries," Ruiz told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

    "Our country [the US] has been complicit, in many ways [in the causes of the current migrant situation]. From setting up a regime in Honduras which destabilized the whole country in 2009. I mean, this is a direct result of that intervention and our [US] economic foreign policies that are being implemented in those countries. I am not taking away the responsibility of our home countries, but it has a lot to do with a system in place, a system that basically puts money and resources before people," Ruiz added.

    In 2009, US support of the Honduran military's coup d'etat to oust the democratically elected president at the time, Manuel Zelaya, enabled violence and human rights violations to mushroom.

    "They [migrants] hand themselves over to Border Control, and Border Control has the capacity to look into their claims for asylum. Because our president wanted to close down the doors, there is no match possibility for asylum. [Even though the proclamation was shut down], the harm is already done. Whenever somebody in power irresponsibly uses rhetoric that infringes upon the human rights of individuals, even if it doesn't become a law, a lot of the people who are dealing with these caravans [other people in power] get the message that their actions can be justified; they get emboldened by such rhetoric. It creates a culture of practically ‘anything goes,'" Ruiz added. 

    Commenting on the court's decision, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice issued a joint statement:

    "It is absurd that a set of advocacy groups can be found to have standing to sue to stop the entire federal government from acting so that illegal aliens can receive a government benefit to which they are not entitled," the statement reads.

    The migrant caravan, which has been reported to contain anywhere from 3,600 to 7,200 Central Americans, continues to advance toward the US-Mexico border, where the migrants hope to receive asylum in the US. The majority of the group is made up of citizens from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala who are escaping violence and poverty in their own countries.

    This week, thousands of migrants reached the US border, triggering protests in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, which has become a major crossing point. Hundreds of locals of protested in the streets, calling the migrants a threat to the city, Sputnik previously reported. 

    In addition, Trump has sent around 6,000 active troops to the US-Mexico border in anticipation of the caravan, a move that Democrats have denounced.

    "One of the hallmark characteristics of this administration is that of bullying and we are seeing that. Once those words are uttered from the lips of this powerful man, anything goes. Our [South American] communities are very much in fear, because all of this irresponsible rhetoric is camouflaged with racial discrimination overtones. For many people, this is politics, but for people who are being persecuted, this is survival," Ruiz told Sputnik.

    "This is a matter of life and death, and what we are doing by just accepting such irresponsible rhetoric coming from this powerful man, we are allowing them to create conditions so violent that people have to choose between spending many years in jail here in the US or going back to their home countries, where death awaits them. We need to denounce that racist rhetoric. It has to be pointed out and [so does] the whole infrastructure of terror, which is [the Department of] Homeland Security," Ruiz added.

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    migrant, persecution, violence, Donald Trump, United States
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