The Trump administration is debating whether or not to “ban entry of migrants” at the U.S.’s southern border, in a manner similar to the “travel ban” enacted in January 2017. This is in reaction to the so-called “migrant caravan” currently making its way through Mexico - similar groups have tried and succeeded to reach the U.S. border, with a more organized group making it to Tijuana in April 2018. What the administration does not appear to understand - or care about - is that asylum is an ancient right enshrined not only in U.S. law, but in international law, and to flout it may bring serious issues to their doorstep. For immigrants and asylees here, it may throw their futures into sharp uncertainty.
Seeking Asylum Is Not Illegal
Despite the fondest wishes of the current president, seeking asylum is not illegal; quite the contrary. The right to seek freedom from persecution is a right that dates back to the Biblical era, though it most commonly is brought up in discussing the policies of the medieval Catholic Church. Even murderers were permitted to seek sanctuary in certain church properties in the United Kingdom, though the system was eventually abolished in the country (along with the Catholic Church) in the 17th century.
In the modern era, the right to seek asylum was one of the centerpieces of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, as well as being explicitly enshrined in the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (which the U.S. did not sign, despite it being the seminal authority on refugee issues) and the 1967 Protocol on the same topic (which it did). Asylum is an internationally recognized right, even extending beyond the original definition to victims of domestic violence (before the current administration rescinded it), to sexual minorities and more people who need the help. To unilaterally shut down the right to seek political asylum would be in violation of international law....