ImmigrationTrump signs immigration order to curb asylum claims
The Trump administration has issued an executive order which would effectively ban migrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border from qualifying for asylum. The administration’s move comes as thousands of Honduran migrants are making their way north. The order means that the United States will no longer allow certain people who enter the country illegally to qualify for asylum.
The Trump administration has issued an executive order which would effectively ban migrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border from qualifying for asylum. The administration’s move comes as thousands of Honduran migrants are making their way north.
The order means that the United States will no longer allow certain people who enter the country illegally to qualify for asylum.
The order goes into effect on Saturday. It will suspend, for ninety days, the entry of migrants through the U.S. southern border between ports of entry.
The measures, released by DHS and DOJ, are meant to funnel asylum seekers through official border crossings along the nearly 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border.
Under current rules, a migrant is allowed to make a claim up to a year after arriving in the United States, even if they had crossed the border illegally. The new regulations would effectively ban migrants who illegally cross the border from qualifying for asylum.
“Those who enter the country between ports are knowingly and voluntarily breaking the law,” the Justice Department said Thursday.
Trump has invoked the same extraordinary presidential national security powers he used to justify a version of the travel ban which was upheld by the Supreme Court in June, senior administration officials told the AP.
The order will not apply to unaccompanied migrant children.
The New York Times reports that much like the travel ban, the new changes are likely to be met with legal challenges. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday that the agency’s legal experts are reviewing the Trump administration’s new policy.
“The policy is being reviewed by legal colleagues. I understand it is a lengthy document. It needs to be carefully reviewed,” UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told reporters, declining to comment further.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Thursday that the right to request asylum must be granted to everyone entering the country, whether illegally or through a border crossing, as stated in the asylum section of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
“U.S. law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry. It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.
Other critics of the new regulations point to the fact that points of entry along the border are overcrowded and already have long lines and waits. Immigration officials are often forced to tell some migrants to come back to make their claims.
The new regulations would largely affect migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who are fleeing violence and poverty at home.
“The vast majority of aliens who enter illegally today come from the Northern Triangle countries,” the order’s text said. “Channeling those aliens to ports of entry would encourage these aliens to first avail themselves of offers of asylum from Mexico.”
Asylum claims in the United States have increased in recent years — there were more than 330,000 claims in the United States in 2017 — and there are more than 800,000 asylum cases pending in immigration court. Generally, only about 20 percent of cases get approved.
The Times notes that the Trump administration has already made it more difficult for migrants to qualify for asylum in the United States. In June, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a decision that narrowed the spectrum of circumstances under which immigrants can use violence in their home country as basis for U.S. asylum.
On Thursday, the Justice Department justified the new regulations by saying the U.S. asylum system “is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims” which prevent the system from being able to handle legitimate ones.