In an apparent attempt to make our ostensible “shining city on a hill” into a dimly lit subterranean community, the Trump administration has put in place a callous rule that would illegally and prejudicially bar nearly every non-citizen from gaining a refugee status if they travel through a third country.
Indeed, the Immigration and Nationality Act states that noncitizens, regardless of the way that they enter this country, are only ineligible for asylum if they were “firmly resettled in another country” where they can expect physical safety and legal protection. Nor are we allowed to discriminate based on identity, which is the clear intent since 74.5% of the initial cases completed involve parties from Spanish speaking countries and because the majority are native to Central American states.
Based on calculations made with data from the Small Arms Survey, since 2004, the average violent death rate in Central America is 32.3 per 100,000 people. For countries engaged in civil and interstate conflicts where the loss of life exceeds 1,000 deaths for the last two years, the number is 28.3. Therefore, there is a reasonable basis for accepting refugees from most of the countries in this region since the implication is that there is heightened chance of physical harm and persecution.
Lamentably, though, we shouldn’t expect Sen. Joni Ernst to meaningfully challenge this measure because she and her caucus have made cowering in a flawless trench that encompasses the base of the aforementioned hill a routine practice.