Trump Administration Moves to Restrict Asylum at US-Mexico Border

Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally

Human rights groups denounced President Donald Trump's flouting of federal and global law Friday after the Trump administration announced new rules giving the president the authority to deny any asylum to any migrant who enters the United States without going through an official point of entry.

Trump told reporters that he had "just signed" the proclamation as he departed the White House on Friday morning en route to Paris.

Administration officials have said existing USA asylum rules encourage illegal immigration and bog down legitimate claims.

Many of these immigrants in the past have sought asylum citing a "credible fear" of harm having already committed other offenses, such as entering the country illegally.

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"Asylum-seekers have been left to camp out for days and weeks on bridges at the border, when they should be guaranteed a right to enter the country for a fair hearing".

The new measures would deny asylum to those who breach any presidential restriction on entry.

U.S. asylum seekers would be given a hearing no matter how they arrived in the country until Mr Trump signed Friday's proclamation. The decision notes, however, that this is not to say that Trump cannot end DACA at all, but that in this case, the administration "acted based on an erroneous view of what the law required".

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. Immigration advocacy groups insist USA laws clearly extend asylum protections to anyone who reaches the United States, no matter how they enter the country.

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Earlier efforts by the Trump administration to limit migration prompted a political and legal backlash. "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.

The new changes were likely to be met with legal challenges, too. Nonetheless, it would still give those who cross illegally a way to get into the immigration court backlog and released from custody, especially those who are traveling with children.

According to a report by the rights group Washington Office on Latin America, requests for asylum from migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras increased by 25 per cent in the fiscal year 2017. The caravan is now around 600 miles from the United States.

Trump has also expressed an interest in ending birthright citizenship to those born to non-citizens and for ending the the so-called DACA protections of those who've been in the usa for years but were brought into the country illegally while children. Several smaller groups were trailing hundreds of kilometres to the south; officials estimated about 7,000 in all were in the country in the caravans.

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