Hi anon, thank you fpr sending me an ask. I’d like to first put a disclaimer that: 1.) I’m not American and know little to nothing in depth about american political issues; and 2.) Its been awhile since I’ve last heard of the immigration policy of the Trump administration since I don’t really follow it in depth and only catch the news about it on several media outlets but I haven’t read the policy itself.
The controlling convention (or multilateral agreement) that governs the definition, obligations and rights of refugees is the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees. The UNHCR summarizes it as
“A refugee, according to the Convention,
is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin
owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion,
nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.”
Or if you want the verbatim text.
(2) As a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear,
is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who,
not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former
habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
In the case of a person who has more than one nationality, the term “the
country of his nationality” shall mean each of the countries of which he is a national, and a person shall not be deemed to be lacking the protection of the country of his nationality if, without any valid reason based
on well-founded fear, he has not availed himself of the protection of one of the countries of which he is a national.“
However under Art. 1 of the convention (the same article that gives the definition of refugees) there are instances wherein the convention and definition of a refugee ceases. These include the following (I’m going to summarize because the verbatim text is long):
1.) When the circumstances that caused that person to flee and avail of a refugee status have ceased and the same person:
A.) Avails of the national protection (in the form of which nationality to avail of) of either the state of origin or to the new state of residence (or even another state apart from the 2); or
B.) If the stateless individual is able to return to the state of habitual residence (meaning not necessarily as a citizen but rather as a resident).
2.) If the person has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, crime against humanity, a serious non-political crime outside of the country of refuge, or is guilty of any acts that are contrary to the goals and purpose of the UN.
This is the legal definition of a refugee. But refugees are not the same as Asylum seekers. Citing the UNHCR’s Glossary and "UNHCR Protection Training Manual for European Border and Entry Officials” Asylum seekers (or prima facie refugees) are those who are seeking protectiin through the refugee procedure and whose status has not yet been finalized or approved. Not all will be granted refugee status but all refugees have been asylum seekers.
Should there be a difference between Asylum seeker and refugee? Legally yes, to afford the state now taking care of the influx of new people the chance to see if they have enough resources and space for them without sacrificing the welfare of their citizens. Not all states have enough resources after all.
Having said that, in practice the differences between these two terms is more political and instead gives some developed states the excuse of not accepting those who seek protection under international law.
From what I know of Trump’s policy (again I haven’t read it in-depth), it seems very anti-refugee and immigrant. Not wanting to spark a political war in a state I’m not a citizen of: policies like these is up to the state itself. But it does break my heart and I do pray and hope that these people who are affected would either be in a better place or the conflict in their home state ceases so that they may return without fear. I guess I’m biased to be for the refugees because my own family has its origins from refugees fleeing from communist China. My grandfather and his immediate family fled to my country to escape the persecution of the Mao administration who was persecuting intellectuals, and he himself became a PIL lawyer. But at the same time I also understand the state’s need to protect its resources since you cannot give what you don’t have.
At the end of the day, its all about balance.
If you would like to have more in depth discussions with me, feel free to DM me since there’s so much more but I don’t want to simply post verbatim texts here without answering your questions.
Also I don’t really know if I’m a Burr or a Hamilton but I hope to be Angelica 🥰