Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

New Fast-Track Measures to Deny Asylum to Illegal Immigrants

New Fast-Track Measures to Deny Asylum to Illegal Immigrants

President Donald Trump is preparing issue a proclamation to assert the emergency powers, and the rule changes will be published Friday in the Federal Register, the officials said.

"We need people in our country but they have to come in legally and they have to have merit", Trump said Friday as he prepared to depart for Paris.

The Trump administration said it would prohibit people who illegally cross the us border with Mexico from claiming asylum, as the president seeks to choke off migration from Latin America.

The directive is a temporary measure, and circumvents current laws that state anyone who applies for asylum in the U.S. is eligible to have their case heard, no matter whether they arrived legally or illegally.

Once the plan goes into full effect, migrants entering at the USA southern border would be eligible for asylum only if they report at official ports of entry, officials said.

Administration officials have said existing U.S. asylum rules encouraged illegal immigration and bogged down legitimate claims.

The decision comes amid a huge crisis, as some 7,000 migrants, according to United Nations estimates, are moving towards the U.S. southern border in a bid to obtain asylum.

Those seeking political or other kinds of asylum - almost all of them coming from impoverished and violent crime-plagued countries of Central America - will be heard exclusively at the border crossings, administration officials told journalists.

Over 5,200 U.S. troops have been sent to the border to erect razor-wire fences and provide surveillance and logistical support to the National Guardsmen and Customs and Border Patrol agents already there.

Currently, there are more than 5,600 United States troops deployed to the border mission, with about 550 actually working on the border in Texas. Claims have spiked in recent years, and there is a backlog of more than 800,000 cases pending in immigration court, with a wait time that can be almost two years.

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According to CNN, which cited an unnamed Justice Department official, the new ruling was previously approved by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions before his Wednesday departure from the department.

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

The new measures would deny asylum to those who breach any presidential restriction on entry. They are now about 600 miles away. These are not eligible asylum claims.

Activists have accused border officials of unduly using this "metering" approach.

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

But US officials said that as Mexico is the first safe country US-bound migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras arrive in, the asylum claims should be presented there.

Mr. Trump has also threatened to end birthright citizenship through executive order, although he has yet to do so. "Any person in the United States must have access to the asylum process".

About 4,800 migrants are sheltered in a sports complex in Mexico City, some 965 kilometres from the USA border. More than 1,700 were children under 18, and more than 300 were children under age five.

Similar caravans have gathered regularly over the years and have generally dwindled by the time they reach the southern border.

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