The U.S. is about to allow only those foreigners who register upon entering the country to apply for asylum. Do you see a diagnosis of xenophobia and right-wing populism in that policy? If not, then you don’t belong among the honorable progressives who’ve found in it another stick to beat Donald Trump with.
What of it? Those sticks are often justified. Trump contains his share of narcissism and boastfulness. And in the home stretch of the congressional midterm campaign, anything goes.* Like coming up with the idea of strict conditions for acquiring citizenship – children born to aliens in the U.S. will supposedly no longer have an automatic claim to citizenship. Or referring to the caravan of the desperate from Central America, headed on foot to the U.S., as an invasion, and because of them, well-nigh calling for a mobilization at the border.
It all arouses criticism, and Trump deserves it. But what’s so bad about making asylum applicants register at the border first? That’s simply the least one can ask of them. That Germany didn’t do it in 2015-16, that they allowed hundreds of thousands into their country with no registration, is their problem. But to make of it slogans like “Migration is a human right”? In this case, it’s not just about criticizing Trump anymore. It’s about the erosion of documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 13, Section 2, clearly states, “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” But there’s not a single word about an obligation to accept immigrants.
Every country determines its own principles for granting citizenship. But the subject of immigration is more consequential. It will soon be decided whether the Czech Republic will join the Global Compact for Migration. It would probably be better to stick to the Declaration of Human Rights. Or are we to insist that the Declaration is a xenophobic and populist document?
*Editor’s note: This article was published prior to the Nov. 6, 2018 congressional midterm elections; however, the editors feel the author’s opinion is still relevant.