With Yael Schacher and S. Deborah Kang
The right to seek asylum has long been enshrined in domestic and international law. And yet a new rule proposed by the Trump administration would make it all but impossible for most people to apply for asylum at the southern border. The administration’s policies of separating families and indefinitely detaining asylum seekers, as well as its draconian decision to send asylum seekers to Mexico to await their hearings, are the latest chapters in the administration’s attempt to rewrite the nation’s immigration history and dismantle its asylum laws.
But there is hope for immigrant rights advocates. These critical human rights protections exist because people fought for them — and that is the only way they will be reinstated. The refugee rights movement of the 1980s persisted even in the face of powerful nativist forces. By recognizing the ways people succeeded in ensuring rights protections in the past, we can draw inspiration for the critical battles for immigrant rights ahead.