Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Trump orders crackdown on asylum seekers

Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally Feds announce new policy to limit asylum claims
Jay Anderson | 09 November, 2018, 23:03

The Trump administration said it would prohibit people who illegally cross the USA border with Mexico from claiming asylum, as the president seeks to choke off migration from Latin America.

Administration officials said the new rule is contingent on a proclamation from President Donald Trump determining which migrants will be affected by the new regulation.

"Congress has directly spoken to this question as to whether individuals can be rendered ineligible for asylum if they cross between ports of entry and has specifically said people are eligible regardless of where they cross", said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Officials say the measure is meant to funnel asylum seekers through official border crossings for speedy rulings instead of having them try to circumvent such crossings on the almost 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) stretch. "The US government should absolutely be encouraging the safe, orderly and efficient processing of asylum claims at ports of entry, but the way to do that is by providing sufficient resources to receive and process asylum seekers in a fair and humane manner". It said the automatic denial of asylum claims to illegal border-crossers would continue for 90 days or until there is an agreement which "permits the United States to remove aliens to Mexico".

Administration officials said those denied asylum under the proclamation may be eligible for similar forms of protection if they fear returning to their countries, though they would be subject to a tougher threshold.

Officials say the new policy is grounded in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.




Mr. Trump had telegraphed the move last week, saying he was fed up with migrants exploiting US laws by making bogus claims. The sweeping move is part of the administration's ongoing effort to restrict migration. Nonetheless, it would still give those who cross illegally a way to get into the immigration court backlog and released from custody, especially those who are traveling with children.

The new restrictions are expected to be challenged in court.

In 2017, the US fielded more than 330,000 asylum claims, almost double the number two years earlier and surpassing Germany as highest in the world. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", he said.

"The vast majority of aliens who enter illegally today come from the Northern Triangle countries", the regulation's text reads.

Mr. Trump has also threatened to end birthright citizenship through executive order, although he has yet to do so. "They clearly and explicitly meant to make asylum available to anyone who reaches the United States". Several smaller groups were trailing hundreds of kilometres to the south; officials estimated about 7,000 in all were in the country in the caravans. Most have passed largely unnoticed.

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