WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday invoked extraordinary national security powers to deny asylum to migrants who enter the country illegally, tightening the border as caravans of Central Americans slowly approach the United States.
Trump is using the same powers he used to push through a version of the travel ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court. The proclamation puts into place regulations adopted Thursday that circumvent laws stating that anyone is eligible for asylum no matter how he or she enters the country.
“We need people in our country but they have to come in legally and they have to have merit,” Trump said Friday as he departed for Paris.
Administration officials say the measures, likely to face legal challenges, go into effect Saturday for at least three months, but could be extended. They don’t affect people who are already in the country.
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 nearly 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border.
But the busy ports of entry already have long lines and waits, forcing immigration officials to tell some migrants to turn around and come back to make their claims. Even despite that, illegal crossings are historically low.
The move was spurred in part by caravans of Central American migrants slowly moving north on foot but will apply to anyone caught crossing illegally, officials said. It’s unknown whether those in the caravan, many fleeing violence in their homeland, plan to cross illegally.
“The arrival of large numbers … will contribute to the overloading of our immigration and asylum system and to the release of thousands … into the interior of the United States,” Trump said in the proclamation, calling it a crisis.
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. Those forms of protection include “withholding of removal” — which is similar to asylum, but doesn’t allow for green cards or bringing families — or protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
Homeland Security officials said they were adding staffing at the border crossings to manage the expected crush, but it’s not clear how migrants, specifically families, would be held as their cases are adjudicated. Family detention centers are largely at capacity. Trump has said he …read more
Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News