Trump administration moves to restrict asylum seekers at border

Lester Mason
November 9, 2018

The restriction on asylum claims will seek to address what a senior administration official called the "historically unparalleled abuse of our immigration system" along the border with Mexico.

In speeches and on Twitter, Trump hammered away almost daily at "caravans" of a few thousand impoverished Central Americans that periodically attempt to walk up through Mexico and then gain entry to the United States.

Immigrant advocates have denounced the move, saying it violated existing United States law that allows people fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries to apply for asylum regardless of whether they enter illegally or not.

They said he would sign a proclamation Friday putting the new rules into effect before he leaves for a trip to Paris later in the day. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, responded in in a statement.

"U.S. law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry".

This summer, multiple news outlets reported that hundreds of migrants who had legally presented themselves to US agents at official ports of entry, like San Ysidro, California and El Paso, Texas, were told that their asylum requests could not be processed.


Administration officials have said existing USA asylum rules encouraged illegal immigration and bogged down legitimate claims.

Claims have spiked in recent years, and there is a backlog of more than 800,000 cases pending in immigration court.

He called a current caravan, which is still hundreds of miles from the USA border and dwindling in numbers, an "invasion" and said it would bring hardened criminals to U.S. streets.

Administration officials say that aside from the rhetoric the border really does have a problem, given that anyone who manages to get across can request asylum and subsequently often vanish while their case sits in the court system. He will invoke the same powers he used to push through a version of the travel ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court, according to senior administration officials. The decision notes, however, that this is not to say that Trump cannot end DACA at all, but that in this case, the administration "acted based on an erroneous view of what the law required". "We will resist this".

Last week, he said he would be taking steps to limit asylum claims. But the busy ports of entry already have long lines and waits, forcing immigration officials to tell some migrants to come back to make their claims. It's unknown whether those in the caravan, many fleeing violence in their homeland, plan to cross illegally. "Over the past decade, the overall percentage of aliens subject to expedited removal and referred, as part of the initial screening process, for a credible-fear interview jumped from approximately 5% to above 40%, and the total number of credible-fear referrals for interviews increased from about 5,000 a year in Fiscal Year ('FY") 2008 to about 97,000 in FY 2018'.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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