Trump administration moves to block asylum for certain migrants

Trump administration moves to block asylum for certain migrants

Global refugee law says that asylum seekers have the right to lodge asylum claims irrespective of illegal entry or presence, which USA asylum law affirms by saying, "any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival...) irrespective of such aliens status, may apply for asylum".

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 announcement was the latest push to enforce Trump's hardline stance on immigration through regulatory changes and presidential orders, bypassing Congress.

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

One senior administration official spoke to reporters in a news briefing on condition of anonymity. Only nine percent of those migrants seeking asylum, though, are ultimately granted asylum.

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.

According to CNN, which cited an unnamed Justice Department official, the new ruling was previously approved by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions before his Wednesday departure from the department.

The order comes after weeks of Trump promising to crack down on illegal immigration, as a caravan of several thousand migrants makes its way toward the US' southern border from Central America. A statement from the U.S. president on Friday announcing the ban called the migrants "aliens".

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Meanwhile, other migrants were focusing on the daunting task of reaching the USA border and presenting asylum requests there. After the migrants entered, Mexico came under pressure to accelerate the refugee and asylum process for Central Americans.

Those issues were not addressed by the regulations.

The order would force migrants seeking to apply for asylum to do so only at ports of entry, and not after stepping onto US soil illegally.

Mr Trump invoked the same powers he used to impose a travel ban on Muslims that was upheld by the Supreme Court in June.

Asylum seekers turn themselves in to a US Border Patrol agent after crossing from Mexico into the United States.

The move on Friday was spurred in part by caravans of Central American migrants slowly moving north on foot, but officials say it will apply to anyone caught crossing illegally. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.

The goal appears to be to try to siphon would-be illegal immigrants to those ports of entry and away from jumping the border.

Those seeking political or other kinds of asylum - almost all of them coming from impoverished and violent crime-plagued countries of Central America - will be heard exclusively at the border crossings, administration officials told journalists.

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