Changing Asylum Law
Our current president has issued a proclamation changing U.S. asylum law. What’s the difference between a proclamation and an executive order? They’re pretty much the same thing although I surmise the president likes the sound of the word proclamation because it sounds more like something a king would issue.
Prior to the issuance of this order by the president, any person present in the United States could apply for asylum as long as they did so within one (1) year of arriving, with some exceptions to the one year requirement for extraordinary circumstances. This regulation is based on international law and is in place because of the extremely important nature of asylum protection. Folks must be forgiven for not entering at a border checkpoint if their lives are in danger. There is too much at stake. The president wants to bar asylum protection for those who enter at our southern border between border checkpoints.
Does the president have the authority to change the law sans congress? He does have a great deal of authority with regard to immigration law if there’s a “national security issue” at stake. This is the basis of the recent travel bans. Of course national security is our president’s highest and virtually only consideration when he analyzes our immigration policies and laws. Unfortunately, this reflects the attitude of his political base despite how much it contradicts our countries guiding principles.
Fortunately our president is not a king, despite his fantasies to the contrary, and we have co-equal branches of government. To that end the ACLU in conjunction with other immigrant rights groups filed a law suit to enjoin the proclamation. “The asylum ban is flatly unlawful and will put people’s lives in danger. The President has no authority to simply discard a law Congress passed,” ACLU lead attorney Lee Gelernt told CNN.
The founders of our country were wise enough to create safeguards to protect us from our lesser angels and so far the American Dream still stands a fighting chance.