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President Trump expected to sign executive order on asylum system soon

President Trump expected to sign executive order on asylum system soon

The Trump administration announced a new immigration rule Thursday that will block migrants from seeking asylum if they fail to cross the USA border at an official port of entry.

Accordingly, if the president issues a suspension or ban on entry through the US/Mexican border, those who illegally manage to enter the US will not be allowed to apply for asylum once there.

They are meant to speed up rulings on asylum claims, instead of having migrants try to circumvent official crossings on the almost 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border.

The asylum restrictions are the latest attempts by the administration to assert executive powers ahead of a massive caravan of Central American migrants moving north through Mexico. "Since 2017, Amnesty has documented that thousands of people already wait for weeks on end at the ports of entry, and others have been wrongfully turned away by USA border officials as they attempt to seek protection".

Immigrant advocates have denounced the move, saying it violated existing U.S. law that allows people fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries to apply for asylum regardless of whether they enter illegally or not. "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.

Later, at a campaign rally in Missouri, Trump offered additional remarks on the topic, saying, "Under this plan, the illegal aliens will no longer get a free pass into the country by lodging meritless claims in seeking asylum".

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

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Administration officials described the new policy as necessary to combat what they see as rampant abuse of the existing system, noting that most migrants who request asylum under the current process are ultimately denied.

Trump made immigration a key issue in Tuesday's election, stoking fear among his supporters about a migrant caravan that's still hundreds of miles away in Mexico.

One senior administration official spoke to reporters in a news briefing on condition of anonymity.

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

But the administration official argued that "what we're attempting to do is trying to funnel credible fear claims, or asylum claims, through the ports of entry where we are better resourced".

In 2018, border patrols have registered more than 400,000 illegal border crossers, homeland security said.

"Congress has directly spoken to this question as to whether individuals can be rendered ineligible for asylum if they cross between ports of entry and has specifically said people are eligible regardless of where they cross", said Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.