Trump administration moves forward with asylum restrictions

09 Novembre, 2018, 07:40 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Trump administration rolls out hard-line immigration policy drastically restricting asylum access at Mexican border

Immigrant advocates denounced the administration's move as unlawful, and said the plan to funnel migrants to ports of entry was just a way to cut asylum claims overall.

The new rule comes as a so-called caravan of migrants from Central America travels north by foot through Mexico to the USA border.

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".

Immigrant advocacy groups have complained that under Trump, U.S. border police have made it more hard for people to cross into the country at ports of entry and have outright turned away some migrants.

The regulations released, in conjunction with an order expected to be signed by President Donald Trump, would effectively ban migrants who cross the U.S. border with Mexico illegally from qualifying for asylum. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree".

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

The rule, which prevents migrants from claiming asylum if they do not do so at an official border crossing, is the latest attempt by the White House to handle a surge in migration to the USA from the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

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On a call with reporters Thursday, senior administration officials emphasized that point, claiming that it would mean asylum claims will be handled more efficiently.

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.

In 2018, border patrols registered more than 400,000 illegal border crossers, homeland security said. Mr. Trump claims he can accomplish this through an executive order, rather than with a constitutional amendment through Congress.

In nearly 50 percent of cases where Central American migrants passed their initial asylum-seeking screening, the migrant never appeared for their asylum hearing or did not even file an asylum application. More than 7,000 active duty troops could eventually be deployed, Defense Department officials said.

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.

This is expected to put a dent in those streaming into an already overburdened system, officials said, noting that there is a backlog of more than 700,000 cases in the immigration courts. A report by the left-leaning Washington Office on Latin America suggested that "the number of unaccompanied children and family members admitted to the ports of entry, mainly for protection requests, plummeted by 42 percent from May to June".

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