WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump issued an order Friday to deny asylum to migrants who enter the country illegally, tightening the border as caravans of Central Americans slowly approach the United States.
Trump invoked the same powers he used last year to impose a travel ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court, and the new regulations were likely to draw a legal challenge. They are intended to circumvent laws stating that anyone is eligible for asylum no matter how he or she enters the country. About 70,000 people per year who enter the country illegally claim asylum, officials said.
“We need people in our country but they have to come in legally,” Trump said Friday as he departed for Paris.
Trump’s announcement was the latest push to enforce a hardline stance on immigration through regulatory changes and presidential orders, bypassing Congress which has not passed any immigration law reform. But those efforts have been largely thwarted by legal challenges and, in the case of family separations this year, stymied by a global outcry that prompted Trump to retreat.
The legal director of the International Refugee Assistance Project said the latest move was blatantly illegal.
“This is yet another discriminatory attempt by the president to target vulnerable people, but he cannot unilaterally rescind the American commitment to provide refuge to those seeking safety,” said Mariko Hirose.
Officials said the asylum law changes are meant to funnel migrants through official border crossings for speedy rulings instead of having them try to circumvent such crossings on the nearly 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border. Border Patrol agents in Yuma said they arrested nearly 450 migrants in Western Arizona this week.
But the busy ports of entry already have long lines and waits, forcing immigration officials to tell some migrants to turn around and come back to make their claims. Even despite that, illegal crossings are historically low.
Backlogs have become especially bad in recent months at crossings in California, Arizona and Texas, with some people waiting five weeks to try to claim asylum at San Diego’s main crossing.
“The arrival of large numbers … will contribute to the overloading of our immigration and asylum system and to the release of thousands … into the interior of the United States,” Trump said in the proclamation, calling it a crisis.
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 …read more
Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News