Congress slams Trump's 'disgraceful' plan to ban all asylum-seekers from Central America

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Trump's ramped-up attacks on immigrants from Central America are being called both 'cruel and mean-spirited' and 'destined to fail.'

On Friday, several members of Congress hammered Trump's latest attack on families fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.

Politico reported Thursday that the Trump administration is seeking massive restrictions to prevent Central American asylum-seekers from entering the United States. A new draft policy, which has yet to be officially unveiled, would deny asylum to anyone who has "resided in a country other than their own before coming to the U.S.", a Homeland Security official told Politico.

If implemented, the policy would deny asylum claims to thousands of families from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and other Central American countries who are waiting in Mexico to come to the United States, a major escalation of Trump's already cruel anti-immigrant policies.

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With this latest ploy, Trump is playing politics and offering "extreme and ineffective policies to cater to the xenophobic part of his base," Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), first vice chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement to Shareblue Media.

Gallego also noted that Trump has been in office for two and a half years and has "completely failed to develop a serious plan to address the Central American migrant crisis."

"It's beyond disgraceful that President Trump is so afraid of families arriving at our borders that he wants to deny entire nationalities the opportunity for a fair hearing," Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA), told Shareblue Media.

Torres said the U.S. has a history of being a safe refuge — from Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, to Eastern Europeans fleeing the Soviet Union, to Cubans fleeing the Castro regime.

"This policy is also destined to fail," she said. "No matter what cruel and mean-spirited policies this administration comes up with, people will keep coming, because the conditions they're fleeing leave them no other choice."

Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, called out Trump's "bigotry and xenophobia."

"Once again, this is not a serious proposal to improve immigration in America, it is another attempt to distract from news the President doesn’t like while making life harder for immigrants and minority communities," she told Shareblue Media.

Pro-immigrant advocates also criticized the policy.

Pili Tobar, deputy director of America's Voice, called it "poorly thought out and hastily slapped together to distract from the President's latest political crisis related to Russian election interference, the Mueller investigation and the White House/DOJ cover-up."

Tobar said if the policy is implemented "we're going to see chaos added to the existing chaos Trump's policies have already created."

Trump has a long track record attacking immigrants, with an especially cruel streak aimed at children. In the summer of 2018, Trump ripped thousands of kids away from their parents through a family separation policy meant to deter other immigrants from coming to the United States. Since September 2018, six migrant children have died in U.S. custody, including a two-year-old toddler.

Since Trump took office, administration officials have floated a plan to house migrant children and families atop toxic waste dumps, and they wanted to bypass courts to speed up deportations. Trump and his allies in Congress are also looking at ways to detain children for far longer than currently allowed by law.

Experts say Trump's policies are making the situation for asylum-seekers worse.

"We need a comprehensive plan that addresses the root causes of the crisis by helping stabilize Central America while also bolstering our ability to process asylum cases in a fair, effective manner consistent with federal law," Gallego said.

Yet all Trump offers is another way to attack immigrants without addressing any underlying issues.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.