Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Trump signs declaration to limit asylum protections for migrants

Trump signs declaration to limit asylum protections for migrants

The changes are meant to funnel asylum seekers through official border crossings for speedy rulings, officials said, instead of having them try to circumvent such crossings on the almost 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border.

The Trump administration lost a court bid on Thursday, when a federal appeals court in California ruled that it must continue a programme started under former president Barack Obama that protects hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who were brought into the country as children, known as Dreamers.

President Donald Trump has blamed US asylum rules for luring thousands of migrants a year from Central American countries.

"Congress very specifically said you can apply for asylum if you arrive in the United States regardless of whether you're at a port of entry", said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", the ACLU said.

"The continuing and threatened mass migration of aliens with no basis for admission into the United States through our southern border has precipitated a crisis and undermines the integrity of our borders", Trump said in the order.

Days later, the Supreme Court upheld the president's controversial travel ban against people from several Muslim majority countries. ". 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".

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Many politicians on both sides of the aisle agree that the USA immigration system is hugely inefficient and unable to cope with demand. 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. But many migrants are unaware of that guidance, and official border crossings have grown clogged. The president has also said massive tent cities are being built to house asylum seekers indefinitely until their claims are processed.

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.

"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", the statement said.

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".

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