US to deny asylum to illegal border crossers

Trump administration rolls out hard-line immigration policy drastically restricting asylum access at Mexican border

Mr. Trump had telegraphed the move last week, saying he was fed up with migrants exploiting US laws by making bogus claims.

The fast-track regulation is nearly certain to trigger legal challenges, Politico reported, even as the announcement of the new measure suggests the president won't ease up on an immigration crackdown that defined his campaign - and first two years in office.

In Fiscal Year 2018, almost 90 percent of Central American migrants who arrived at the border and claimed "credible fear" passed their initial asylum-seeking interview.

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". "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Rights Project, said.

Currently, U.S. asylum rules do not bar people who enter the country without authorization, and the Immigration and Nationality Act, which governs the U.S. immigration system, specifically allows people who arrive in the United States, whether or not they do so at a designated port of entry, to apply for asylum. 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".

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Two senior administration officials that spoke to NBC News said that "of the [immigration] measures most likely to be approved by the president, all were likely to lead to a lawsuit". Backlogs have become especially bad in recent months at crossings in California, Arizona and Texas, with some people waiting five weeks to try to claim asylum at San Diego's main crossing.

Those seeking asylum must be fleeing due to a serious fear of persecution.

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".

Last week, he said he would be taking steps to limit asylum claims.

In 2018, border patrols have registered more than 400,000 illegal border crossers, homeland security said. A report by the left-leaning Washington Office on Latin America suggested that "the number of unaccompanied children and family members admitted to the ports of entry, mainly for protection requests, plummeted by 42 percent from May to June".

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