They could lift restrictions on asylum in MAY

The US government has outlined a plan to lift the limits on asylum requests on the border with Mexico on May 23, which were imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, sources close to the issue reported.

The decision, which is not final yet, would end the use of public health reasons to absolve the United States of its obligations, under national laws and international treaties, to grant asylum to victims of persecution.

Lifting those limitations in May would give border agents time to prepare, officials said. However, the delay remains unacceptable to some Democrats and activists, who say the United States is using the pandemic as an excuse to evade its asylum obligations.

The decision, on the other hand, raises the possibility that more migrants will try to cross the border at a time when the number of migrants there is already high. The Department of Homeland Security reported Tuesday that some 7,100 migrants are trying to cross each day, compared with an average of 5,900 in February and a number that is on track to equal or exceed records set in previous years.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in late January extended the decision to block nursing homes for another two months. The decision would have to be renewed this week, but the government has not made a final decision and an announcement is expected in the coming days.

Sources familiar with the matter read a draft report on the move. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.