On July 15, 2019 the Trump administration issued a new asylum rule seriously limiting access to asylum. This rule states that any immigrant who travels through a third country on the way to the United States is ineligible for asylum unless that individual first applies for asylum in the third country and his/her asylum application is denied. This rule effects any individual who enters the United States seeking asylum after July 15, 2019. It has very serious effects upon those entering the country as the vast majority of immigrants (excluding asylum seekers from Mexico and those few individuals who are lucky enough to fly or boat directly from their home country to the United States).
What does this rule mean in real terms? Most asylum seekers would never be approved for any visas to enter the United States, therefore the only way for them to apply for asylum in the United States would be to pass through a third country en route to the United States. For example, many individuals from India who want to seek asylum in the United States travel through Thailand, Japan and Mexico before requesting asylum at a port of entry at the Mexico/U.S. border. Individuals from other countries would go through a similar route.
Fortunately, suits have been filed in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups challenging the legality of this rule. Presently, there is an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of this rule in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Unfortunately, this injunction only applies for those in the Ninth Circuit, which means the rule is presently in effect in all other federal circuits across the United States. For individuals living and/or detained in these other circuits and who entered the United States after July 15, 2019, their only legal remedy would be to seek withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture, at least until such time as this rule is struck down by a federal court, which is expected to happen some time around October when the Ninth Circuit makes a final decision about the legality of the rule.