The Trump administration moved Thursday to order a sweeping new change meant to limit asylum claims by immigrants seeking to come to the U.S.
The policy, revealed in a new rule published in the Federal Register, would make people ineligible for asylum if they cross the U.S. southern border illegally.
The rule ‘would bar such aliens from eligibility for asylum and thereby channel inadmissible aliens to ports of entry, where they would be processed in a controlled, orderly, and lawful manner.’
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.
A group of Central American migrants, representing the thousands participating in a caravan trying to reach the U.S. border, undertake an hours-long march to the office of the United Nations’ humans rights body in Mexico City, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. A new Trump administration rule seeks to dramatically cut back asylum 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.
Over time, the number of asylum claims has jumped markedly in recent years, an indication the administration says immigrants are tailoring their responses to claim asylum without merit.
It only would affect immigrants who seek asylum after the issuance of a presidential proclamation.
‘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.
In a Nov. 6, 2018 photo, Marine Corps engineers from Camp Pendleton put up razor wire just east of the San Ysidro Port of Entry where trains pass from the US in to Mexico and Mexico to the US to support Border Patrol after President Trump has said he fears an invasion of Hondurans arriving in coming weeks
‘Today, we are using the authority granted to us by Congress to bar aliens who violate a Presidential suspension of entry or other restriction from asylum eligibility,’ they wrote.
The White House has yet to release more expansive information about to whom the rule would apply.
The push comes after President Donald Trump railed during the final weeks of the campaign about ‘caravan after caravan’ making its way to the border through Mexico.
Trump said he was sending 15,000 active duty military to the border to deal with the problem, in what former President Barack Obama called a political ‘stunt.’ The troops began laying barbed wire as the migrants traveled toward the U.S. on foot.
Under the new rule, immigrants would have to make their asylum claim at an official point of entry, where it could be processed.
Officials say the new policy is grounded in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
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 continues: ‘Most of those aliens unlawfully enter the country between ports of entry along the southern border. Over the past decade, the overall percentage of aliens subject to expedited removal and referred, as part of the initial screening process, for a credible-fear interview jumped from approximately 5% to above 40%, and the total number of credible-fear referrals for interviews increased from about 5,000 a year in Fiscal Year (‘FY’) 2008 to about 97,000 in FY 2018.’