Friday, 16 November, 2018

Trump announces new rules to limit migrant asylum claims

Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally Trump administration takes step to tighten asylum system
Ellis Copeland | 09 November, 2018, 14:31

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 us could seek refugee status.

Trump made his hard-line policies toward immigration a key issue ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections, sending thousands of USA troops to help secure the southern border and repeatedly drawing attention to caravans of Central American migrants trekking through Mexico toward the United States.

It was published last night and awaiting the president's signature.

A senior administration official said the restriction on asylum claims will seek to address the "historically unparalleled abuse of our immigration system".

"US law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry", said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project.

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Although it's unclear how long the ruling will stay in place, it is certain that it's the result of the Latin American migrant caravan that Trump has likened to an "invasion".

According to the new rule: 'In recent years, the United States has seen a large increase in the number and proportion of inadmissible aliens subject to expedited removal who assert an intent to apply for asylum or a fear of persecution during that process and are subsequently placed into removal proceedings in immigration court'. It's unknown whether those in the caravan, many fleeing violence in their homeland, plan to cross illegally. "Today's rule applies this important principle to aliens who violate such a suspension or restriction regarding the southern border imposed by the president by invoking an express authority provided by Congress to restrict eligibility for asylum". Generally, only about 20 per cent of applicants are approved.

Administration officials said those denied asylum under the proclamation may be eligible for similar forms of protection if they fear returning to their countries, though they would be subject to a tougher threshold. 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".

Officials have turned away asylum seekers at border crossings because of overcrowding, telling them to return later.

Less than 10 per cent of cases result in asylum being granted, the government says. Humanitarian aid converged around the stadium in Mexico City where thousands of Central American migrants winding their way toward the United States were resting Tuesday after an arduous trek that has taken them through three countries in three weeks.

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