Trump Administration Moves to Curb Migrants' Asylum Claims

Pauline Gross
November 9, 2018

The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled a "interim final rule" stipulating that any and all immigrants who illegally cross into the US' southern border with Mexico will be deemed ineligible to apply for asylum.

Donald Trump's administration announced it will deny asylum to migrants caught crossing the Mexican border illegally.

Once the plan goes into full effect, migrants entering at the USA southern border would be eligible for asylum only if they report at official ports of entry, officials said.

The move was spurred in part by caravans of Central American migrants walking toward the border.

Drawing on national security powers, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice issued a fast-track rule barring immigrants from seeking asylum if they first enter the US illegally. President Trump is expected to formally enact the rule in a presidential proclamation Friday.

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. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree".

'Our asylum system is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims from aliens who place a tremendous burden on our resources, preventing us from being able to expeditiously grant asylum to those who truly deserve it, ' Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a joint statement.

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The president has declared immigrants are abusing America's generous asylum system, claiming the United States' asylum rules are the "biggest loophole drawing illegal aliens to our borders". More than 7,000 active duty troops could eventually be deployed, Defense Department officials said.

Trump made immigration a key issue in Tuesday's election, stoking fear among his supporters about a migrant caravan that's still hundreds of miles away in Mexico.

Less than 10 per cent of cases result in asylum being granted, the government says.

The busy ports of entry already had long lines and waits, forcing immigration officials to tell some migrants to come back to make their claims.

In 2018, border patrols have registered more than 400,000 illegal border crossers, homeland security said.

"What we are attempting to do is trying to funnel. asylum claims through the ports of entry where we are better resourced, have better capabilities and better manpower and staffing to actually handle those claims in an expeditious and efficient manner", they said. And in the last five years, the number of those requesting asylum has increased by 2,000 percent, it said.

Other reports by GizPress

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