U. S. asylum officers say Trump’s "Remain in Mexico" policy is threatening migrants’ lives

U.S. asylum officers slammed President Trump’s policy of forcing migrants to remain in Mexico while they await immigration hearings in the United States, urging a federal appeals court Wednesday to block the administration from continuing the program. The officers, who are directed to implement the policy, said it is threatening migrants’ lives and is “fundamentally contrary to the moral fabric of our Nation.”…

The union argued that the policy goes against the nation’s long-standing view that asylum seekers and refugees should have a way to escape persecution in their homelands, with the United States embracing its status as a safe haven since even before it was founded — with the arrival of the Pilgrims in the 17th century. The union said in court papers that the policy is compelling sworn officers to participate in the “widespread violation” of international and federal law — “something that they did not sign up to do when they decided to become asylum and refugee officers for the United States government.”…

Under Trump, the asylum division has become a target of internal ire, often assailed for approving most initial asylum screenings and sending migrants to immigration court for a full hearing. Trump administration officials say most cases are denied. Last week, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, outraged some asylum officers by sending the staff an email they thought criticized them for approving so many initial screenings.