Tuesday, March 10, 2020

President Trump's Allies in Americas Block Africans' Path to US Asylum

AP Photo/Gregory Bull
Many countries in North and South America are blocking the path for Africans who are struggling to seek asylum in the United States
President Donald Trump isn't the only world leader making it virtually impossible for many Africans to get asylum in the United States. He's getting plenty of help from allies in the Americas.
Ecuador is closing its doors as one of the few countries in North and South America to welcome African visitors, depriving them of a starting point for their dangerous journeys north by land. If asylum-seekers make it to Mexico, they face a virtual barricade near its southern border with Guatemala.
Trump's allies are blocking a path for Africans fleeing violence in their homelands as those countries face a U.S. president who has used economic leverage to get help curtailing immigration. Ecuador is pursuing a trade deal with Trump, while Mexico is trying to stay in his good graces after his threat to increase tariffs prompted its crackdown on illegal immigration last year.
People from Cameroon, who are escaping bloodshed that has killed tens of thousands, often win asylum in the U.S. even more than other Africans, but they first must reach American soil. Most are English speakers fleeing torture inflicted by a French-speaking government at war with separatists.
Dozens of them are languishing in Tapachula, a Mexican city of about 300,000 people in a coffee- and banana-growing region along the Guatemalan border.
“I can’t go back to my country. I can’t go forward. I’m stuck. I don’t know what to do,” a 25-year-old Cameroonian said recently at a guest house where he's staying and relies on handouts to eat.
The man spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared jeopardizing his immigration status in Mexico.
Trump has called asylum “a scam” and adopted several policies to reduce claims, including denying asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the U.S. without seeking refuge there first. Border arrests plummeted 78% in January from a 13-year high in May.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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