Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

U.S. moves to ban refugees who enter illegally

U.S. moves to ban refugees who enter illegally

Trump's administration argues that he has the executive power to curb immigration in the name of national security, a power he invoked right after taking office with a controversial ban on travelers from several mostly-Muslim countries - whose final version was upheld by the US Supreme Court on June 26 after a protracted legal battle.

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

The American Civil Liberties Union swiftly declared the move "illegal".

The Trump administration ordered a key change in the immigration policies in relation to asylum seekers, and it will affect how migrants in the caravans heading to the USA could seek refugee status.

"The continuing and threatened mass migration of aliens with no basis for admission into the United States through our southern border has precipitated a crisis and undermines the integrity of our borders", Trump said in the order. The move comes as a caravan of thousands of migrants is slowly crossing Mexico toward the United States. The official decree is expected on Friday and is likely to be challenged in courts immediately.

The new rule will require that migrants who wish to claim asylum do so at an official border crossing.

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The order would force migrants seeking to apply for asylum to do so only at ports of entry, and not after stepping onto USA soil illegally.

The rule, as outlined by administration officials on a briefing call, is meant to crack down on people who jump the border illegally and then subsequently make asylum claims.

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.

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.

With so many asylum seekers arriving at border crossings, USA customs officers have been limiting the number of people allowed to approach the pedestrian entry lanes, a tactic known as "metering" that has triggered challenges in federal court. Instead, thanks to the Democratic Party's insistence on open borders, a dysfunctional system was created where people who sneaked into the country and got caught already in the United States were allowed to retroactively claim they were asylum seekers.

Those delays increase the chances that caravan members could attempt to cross illegally by fording the Rio Grande or trekking through the desert to set foot on USA soil and surrender to Border Patrol agents.

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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.

Claims have spiked in recent years, and there is a backlog of more than 800,000 cases pending in immigration court.

Under US law, there is a legal obligation to hear asylum claims from migrants if they say they fear violence in their home countries.

Officials say the new policy is grounded in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The proclamation puts into place regulations adopted Thursday that circumvent laws stating that anyone is eligible for asylum no matter how he or she enters the country.

It forms one part of the president's latest efforts to tighten border security and clamp down on immigration.

The restrictions rely on authorities Trump cited when implement his travel ban in early 2017, the Post reported.

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The "before" and "after" effect of this new rule is going to be stark.

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