Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally

Members of one of the migrant caravans riding on a truck in Donaji Mexico last week

Members of one of the migrant caravans riding on a truck in Donaji Mexico last week

During the election, Trump sought to sow fear over a caravan of Central American migrants and asylum seekers now trekking north through Mexico. Under the old rule, any immigrant in the country illegally arrested anywhere could instantly claim asylum and a case had to be filed for them, taking up resources and valuable time from an already overburdened asylum system.

The Trump administration has announced that people who enter the United States illegally will no longer be able to claim asylum.

"Although the Trump administration expects to be enjoined and stopped in the near term", one of the officials told NBC, "they believe a policy based on the discretionary authority of the president over who is admitted to the USA will ultimately hold up in the Supreme Court".

"This interim regulation is not only inconsistent with the letter of the law, but flatly contradicts it", Frelick said.

Mr Sessions, who resigned at Mr Trump's request this week, also instructed immigration judges and asylum officers to view illegal border-crossing as a "serious adverse factor" in deciding a case and to consider whether applicants could have escaped danger by relocating within their own countries.

The rule will be paired with a presidential proclamation - expected to come Friday before President Trump leaves for France - with more details of which migrants would be impacted.

Curbing immigration has been a signature issue for Trump, who pushed it hard in the days leading up to Tuesday's midterm elections, railing against the caravans that are still hundreds of kilometres from the border as an impending "invasion".

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.

The "before" and "after" effect of this new rule is going to be stark.

Under US law, there is a legal obligation to hear asylum claims from migrants if they say they fear violence in their home countries.

The goal appears to be to try to siphon would-be illegal immigrants to those ports of entry and away from jumping the border. Nonetheless, it would still give those who cross illegally a way to get into the immigration court backlog and released from custody, especially those who are traveling with children.

The new rules is Trump's administration's latest move to limit the eligibility of individuals for asylum in the United States as part of its "zero tolerance" policy. The U.S. took in approximately 200,000 refugees per year in 1980, and the total had never fallen below 70,000 before Trump entered office. Those moves have been challenged in court.

Interested in Donald Trump? By 2023, the Center for Immigration Studies estimates that the legal and illegal immigrant population of the USA will make up almost 15 percent of the entire US population. About 4,800 migrants are sheltered in a sports complex in Mexico City, some 600 miles (965 kilometers) from the US border. Most have passed largely unnoticed.

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