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New Fast-Track Measures to Deny Asylum to Illegal Immigrants

New Fast-Track Measures to Deny Asylum to Illegal Immigrants

The Trump administration took a major step on Thursday to restrict asylum claims, putting forward a regulation that would make individuals ineligible for asylum if they cross the U.S. southern border between official ports of entry.

The rule, which prevents migrants from claiming asylum if they do not do so at an official border crossing, is the latest attempt by the White House to handle a surge in migration to the USA from the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. U.S law states that any individual can seek asylum, whether or not they are at an official point of entry.

The new rule comes as a so-called caravan of migrants from Central America travels north by foot through Mexico to the USA border.

Immigrant advocacy groups have complained that under Trump, U.S. border police have made it more hard for people to cross into the country at ports of entry and have outright turned away some migrants.

Under current law, immigrants may apply for asylum regardless of how and where they enter the country. President Trump is expected to formally enact the rule in a presidential proclamation Friday.

But according to the new rule, Trump has authority to restrict illegal immigration "if he determines it to be in the national interest". Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, said they were clearly illegal.




'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, ' Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a joint statement. However, Trump's focus on the issue during campaigning for Tuesday's hotly contested midterm congressional elections was criticized as veering into immigrant-bashing and even racism.

Members of the migrant caravan arrive at the shelter of the Church of the Assumption, in the city of Puebla.

"The vast majority of aliens who enter illegally today come from the Northern Triangle countries, and large portions of those aliens assert a credible fear", the regulation's text says.

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

That way, he said, courts will "handle those claims in an expeditious and efficient manner, so that those who do actually require an asylum protection get those protections".

Immigrant advocates denounced the administration's move as unlawful, and said the plan to funnel migrants to ports of entry was just a way to cut asylum claims overall. And in the last five years, the number of those requesting asylum has increased by 2,000 percent, it said.