Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Trump administration moves forward with asylum restrictions

Trump administration moves forward with asylum restrictions

In a decision Thursday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was put into place by former President Barack Obama and allows some undocumented immigrants who arrived in the children to be shielded from deportation for two years and receive work permits, can continue, BuzzFeed News reports.

The Trump administration indicated that the president would follow through on an order to limit asylum claims to those made at ports of entry. The goal of the new policy, according to a document the administration posted Thursday, is to push migrants toward official ports of entry where they can be processed in a "controlled, orderly, and lawful manner".

Mr Trump made his hardline policies toward immigration a key issue ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections, sending thousands of USA troops to help secure the southern border and repeatedly drawing attention to a caravan of Central American migrants trekking through Mexico toward the United States. "Under current practice, border agents are repeatedly turning asylum-seekers away and telling them to come back another day".

Immigrant advocates denounced the move, saying it violated existing US law that allows people fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries to apply for asylum regardless of whether they enter illegally or not. "Today's rule applies this important principle to aliens who violate such a suspension or restriction regarding the southern border imposed by the president by invoking an express authority provided by Congress to restrict eligibility for asylum".

Last Thursday, before heading to a campaign really, Trump also said migrants seeking asylum will be kept in tent cities, rather than released until their cases are adjudicated in immigration court. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", the ACLU said. The military is expected to have the vast majority of the more than 7,000 troops planned for the mission deployed by Monday, and that number could grow.

He called a current caravan, which is still hundreds of miles from the United States border and dwindling in numbers, an "invasion" and said it would bring hardened criminals to USA streets.

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In 2018, border patrols have registered more than 400,000 illegal border crossers, homeland security said.

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

If an asylum seeker enters the U.S. illegally, they have been - until now - still entitled to a hearing of their claim.

A senior administration official said the White House hopes that by funneling asylum claimants to ports of entry, officials will be able to assess and adjudicate the claims more rapidly.

In 2017, the USA fielded more than 330,000 asylum claims, almost double the number two years earlier and surpassing Germany as highest in the world.

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