Thursday, 22 November, 2018

Trump administration says migrants who cross border illegally can't claim asylum

Trump administration rolls out hard-line immigration policy drastically restricting asylum access at Mexican border Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally
Deanna Wagner | 09 November, 2018, 07:39

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.

One senior administration official spoke to reporters in a news briefing on condition of anonymity.

That way, he said, courts will "handle those claims in an expeditious and efficient manner, so that those who do actually require an asylum protection get those protections". Mr. Trump claims he can accomplish this through an executive order, rather than with a constitutional amendment through Congress. But those efforts have been largely thwarted by legal challenges and, in the case of family separations this year, stymied by a global outcry that prompted Trump to scrap them.

"US law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry", said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", he said.

Trump said he was sending 15,000 active duty military to the border to deal with the problem, in what former President Barack Obama called a political 'stunt.' The troops began laying barbed wire as the migrants traveled toward the US on foot. His administration also deployed thousands of troops to the border, and said he massive tent cities are being erected to house asylum seekers until there is a decision on their application.

Those issues were not addressed by the regulations.

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

The Trump administration ordered a key change in the immigration policies in relation to asylum seekers, and it will affect how migrants in the caravans heading to the USA could seek refugee status.

Migrants who cross illegally are generally arrested and often seek asylum or some other form of protection.

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. Generally, only about 20 per cent of applicants are approved. But many migrants are unaware of that guidance, and official border crossings have grown clogged. These are not eligible asylum claims. "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'.

It's unclear how many people en route to the US will even make it to the border. They are now about 600 miles (965 kilometers) away.