Trump administration seeks to deny asylum to migrants who cross border illegally

Trump administration rolls out hard-line immigration policy drastically restricting asylum access at Mexican border

The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled a "interim final rule" stipulating that any and all immigrants who illegally cross into the US' southern border with Mexico will be deemed ineligible to apply for asylum.

Trump made his hard-line policies toward immigration a key issue ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections, sending thousands of US troops to help secure the southern border and repeatedly drawing attention to caravans of Central American migrants trekking through Mexico toward the United States.

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 USA on foot.

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.

Officials would not offer any other specifics on the proclamation that Trump is expected to sign Friday.

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McLean said that by the middle of the day, there was so much smoke in the air, it looked like it was nighttime. Officials were sending as many firefighters as they could, Cal Fire spokesman Rick Carhart said.


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. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, in a statement.

"Our asylum system is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims from aliens who place a tremendous burden on our resources, preventing us from being able to expeditiously grant asylum to those who truly deserve it", Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a joint statement.

Immigration was a major focus in President Trump's 2018 mid-term election campaign.

Under the new rule, immigrants would have to make their asylum claim at an official point of entry, where it could be processed.

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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Sarah Saunders, the press secretary, announced the suspension of Acosta's pass due to his "placing his hands" on the female aide. It's incredible that even when the Trump administration is on the right side of the argument, they still manage to botch it up.


The administration has long said immigration officials are drowning in asylum cases partly because people falsely claim asylum and then live in the USA with work permits. A senior administration official said Thursday that the vast majority of such claims are "non-meritorious".

Less than 10 per cent of cases result in asylum being granted, the government says.

The caravan has remained undeterred, and participants have told Al Jazeera they plan on applying for asylum at an official port of entry. It's unknown whether those in the caravan, many fleeing violence in their homeland, plan to cross illegally.

Last week, he said he would be taking steps to limit asylum claims.

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