Friday, 16 November, 2018

New Fast-Track Measures to Deny Asylum to Illegal Immigrants

Members of one of the migrant caravans riding on a truck in Donaji Mexico last week Members of one of the migrant caravans riding on a truck in Donaji Mexico last week
Glenn Montgomery | 09 November, 2018, 23:02

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.

And with an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 Central Americans moving north through Mexico in caravan groups, Trump has been demanding new tools to stop them at the border.

It forms one part of the president's latest efforts to tighten border security and clamp down on immigration.

Officials say the measure is meant to funnel asylum seekers through official border crossings for speedy rulings instead of having them try to circumvent such crossings on the almost 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) stretch.

"Congress has directly spoken to this question as to whether individuals can be rendered ineligible for asylum if they cross between ports of entry and has specifically said people are eligible regardless of where they cross", said Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

"The biggest loophole drawing illegal aliens to our borders is the use of fraudulent or meritless asylum claims to gain entry into our great country", Mr. Trump said last week. Individuals are not required to ask for asylum at a port of entry. 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. Under global law, these are considered refugees.

"We do this because of our obligations under worldwide law and who we are as a country, and what we understand our role to be in terms of protecting people fleeing persecution", added Jadwat, who said ACLU attorneys have been anticipating the measures and reviewing legal options.

"In its rush to obstruct asylum seekers, the administration is attempting an end run around the law", Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council, told the Guardian.

U.S. Army soldiers from Fort Riley, Kan., put up razor wire fence near the U.S. -Mexico border in Donna, Texas on November 4.

"Asylum-seekers have been left to camp out for days and weeks on bridges at the border, when they should be guaranteed a right to enter the country for a fair hearing".

"The narrative that people seeking refuge are a security threat is a manufactured crisis by the Trump administration rooted in the politics of hate and fear".

In 2017, the US fielded more than 330,000 asylum claims, almost double the number two years earlier and surpassing Germany as highest in the world.

The regulation would largely affect migrants from the Northern Triangle - Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador - who have been crossing the U.S. border with Mexico.

Trump also suggested he'd revoke the right to citizenship for babies born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil and erect massive "tent cities" to detain migrants.

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