Trump administration moves forward with asylum restrictions

Hannah Rogers
November 9, 2018

The United States will no longer allow people who enter the country illegally to claim asylum, with officials unveiling a controversial new crackdown on immigration.

"We need people in our country but they have to come in legally and they have to have merit", Trump said Friday before departing for Paris.

The new measures under preparation would continue to allow foreigners to request asylum if they enter the country legally at US ports of entry, but not those who cross without authorization, administration officials said.

The latest crackdown on illegal immigration is expected to be challenged in the courts by civil liberties groups, who argue that anyone who reaches USA soil is entitled to make an asylum claim.

A senior White House official said that the measure would address the "historically unparalleled abuse of our immigration system" along the border with Mexico.

The 9th Circuit concluded that the Department of Homeland Security was wrong to assert that DACA is illegal, writing that the program is "a permissible exercise of executive discretion", and therefore those who have sought to challenge the administration's move to rescind it "are likely to succeed". They are now about 600 miles away.

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The regulation would "channel inadmissible aliens to ports of entry, where they would be processed in a controlled, orderly, and lawful manner", according to the statement.

Mr Sessions, who resigned at Mr Trump's request this week, also instructed immigration judges and asylum officers to view illegal border-crossing as a "serious adverse factor" in deciding a case and to consider whether applicants could have escaped danger by relocating within their own countries.

Every year the U.S. admits more than 1.5 million foreign nationals, with the vast majority deriving from family-based chain migration, whereby newly naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the U.S. In 2016, the legal and illegal immigrant population reached a record high of 44 million.

"US law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry", it said.

"It is illegal to circumvent that - by agency or presidential decree". Claims have spiked in recent years, and there is a backlog of more than 800,000 cases pending in immigration court, with a wait time that can be almost two years.

"The narrative that people seeking refuge are a security threat is a manufactured crisis by the Trump administration rooted in the politics of hate and fear". The new rule is nearly certain to be challenged in courts. Backlogs have become especially bad in recent months at crossings in California, Arizona and Texas, with some people waiting five weeks to try to claim asylum at San Diego's main crossing. The caravan is now around 600 miles from the United States. Most have passed largely unnoticed.

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