Over the past year, the Trump administration has implemented a series of immigration and asylum policy changes to address the ongoing crisis at the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
While the situation is still overwhelming, with an urgent need for Congress to change asylum laws that are being abused by human smugglers and traffickers, according to Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan the full court press is having a positive affect.
(2/3) Short-term holding facilities: 1) ensure migrants are safe and have access to medical care, food, water, and hygiene products after taking their dangerous journey to the U.S. & 2) allow @CBP to know who is coming into our country so we can keep out the most dangerous. pic.twitter.com/zwdjzhfozA— Acting Sec. Kevin McAleenan (@DHSMcAleenan) August 18, 2019
(3/3) Conditions in @CBP border stations have improved substantially thanks to our international partnerships with Mexico & Central America, & the emergency supplemental funding received from Congress. The numbers in custody have dropped 75% since early June. pic.twitter.com/K64dgcdI7E— Acting Sec. Kevin McAleenan (@DHSMcAleenan) August 18, 2019
Emergency funding has also been helpful.
.@CBPArizona in Yuma recently opened a soft-sided facility to provide relief to our overwhelmed system. @DHSgov sought and finally received the supplemental funding making it possible for us to better care for migrants in our custody. pic.twitter.com/CwC8pwDHwE— Acting Sec. Kevin McAleenan (@DHSMcAleenan) August 14, 2019
Meanwhile, DNA testing has been implemented at the border to determine whether adults posing as family units and traveling with small children are actually related.
Homeland Security began implementing the tests in May with a rapid DNA pilot program in which agents took cheek swabs from migrants, which were processed in about 90 minutes.
Migrants are required to take a DNA test if a government agent decides their official documents and verbal statements are not enough to prove a family connection. DNA samples are destroyed within 14 days unless the migrant has been referred for prosecution by then.
Last week a judge ruled the Trump administration can move forward with new asylum policies after leftist groups sued for an injunction. From Fox News:
A federal appeals court sided with the Trump administration on Friday in the legal battle over its efforts to limit asylum claims from Central America – blocking, for now, a nationwide injunction that blocked the implementation of the rule.
Last month a California federal judge blocked the rule that would require migrants to first apply in one of the countries they cross on their way to the U.S. – with certain exceptions. The rule is tailored to target Central Americans from the Northern Triangle of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras who would travel across multiple countries, including Mexico, before claiming asylum in the U.S.
But the San Francisco federal appeals court for the 9th Circuit on Friday ruled that the injunction imposed by the California federal judge can only apply in states within the court’s jurisdiction in the western U.S. The ruling says that the court failed to discuss why a nationwide injunction was necessary to remedy the harm alleged by those immigration advocacy groups named in the lawsuit.