Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump administration takes step to tighten asylum system

Trump administration takes step to tighten asylum system

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.

Trump is expected to sign the order on Friday before leaving on a trip to Paris. As of Thursday, there are more than 5,600 USA troops deployed to the border mission, with about 550 actually working on the border in Texas.

Administration officials say that aside from the rhetoric the border really does have a problem, given that anyone who manages to get across can request asylum and subsequently often vanish while their case sits in the court system. "The US government should absolutely be encouraging the safe, orderly and efficient processing of asylum claims at ports of entry, but the way to do that is by providing sufficient resources to receive and process asylum seekers in a fair and humane manner".

The fast-track regulation is nearly certain to trigger legal challenges, Politico reported, even as the announcement of the new measure suggests the president won't ease up on an immigration crackdown that defined his campaign - and first two years in office.

Illegal migrants entering through the southern U.S. border will no longer be eligible for asylum under a new rule, the Trump administration has said.

In Fiscal Year 2018, almost 90 percent of Central American migrants who arrived at the border and claimed "credible fear" passed their initial asylum-seeking interview.

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Immigrant advocates denounced the move, saying it violated existing USA law that allows people fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries to apply for asylum regardless of whether they enter illegally or not.

"Congress has directly spoken to this question as to whether individuals can be rendered ineligible for asylum if they cross between ports of entry and has specifically said people are eligible regardless of where they cross", said Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. More than 7,000 active duty troops could eventually be deployed, Defense Department officials said.

Those issues were not addressed by the regulations. Claims have spiked in recent years, and there is a backlog of more than 800,000 cases pending in immigration court.

Trump has long said those seeking asylum should come through legal ports of entry. Only nine percent of those migrants seeking asylum, though, are ultimately granted asylum.

It's unclear how many people en route to the USA will even make it to the border. "Since 2017, Amnesty has documented that thousands of people already wait for weeks on end at the ports of entry, and others have been wrongfully turned away by USA border officials as they attempt to seek protection". Most have passed largely unnoticed.

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