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UN Refugee Agency voices concerns about US asylum policy

BalkansCat/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The United Nations Refugee Agency says it is concerned about changes made to the asylum rules by the United States, which it says will endanger those in need of protection.

"We understand that the U.S. asylum system is under significant strain," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Monday. "But...this measure...will put vulnerable families at risk. It will undermine efforts by countries across the region to devise the coherent, collective responses that are needed."

"This measure is severe and is not the best way forward," Grandi added.

The rule change implemented this week would make any individual who passed through another country and didn't seek asylum there ineligible for protection in the U.S. It does not take into consideration whether those transit countries would provide effective international protection.

Many refugees that arrive at the southern border of the U.S. are fleeing horrific violence at the hands of gangs, economic deprivation, or persecution.

Last month, the UNHCR called on the governments of countries in the Americas to meet urgently to develop and implement a coordinated regional response to the situation.

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