Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion moves to curb mi­grants’ asy­lum claims

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON/SAN FRAN­CISCO, (Reuters) - The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion un­veiled new rules yes­ter­day to sharply limit mi­grant asy­lum claims by bar­ring in­di­vid­u­als who cross the U.S. south­ern bor­der il­le­gally from seek­ing asy­lum.

Im­mi­grant ad­vo­cates de­nounced the move, say­ing it vi­o­lated ex­ist­ing U.S. law that al­lows peo­ple flee­ing per­se­cu­tion and vi­o­lence in their home coun­tries to ap­ply for asy­lum re­gard­less of whether they en­ter il­le­gally or not.

The reg­u­la­tions re­leased on Thurs­day, in con­junc­tion with an or­der ex­pected to be signed by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, would ef­fec­tively ban mi­grants who cross the U.S. bor­der with Mex­ico il­le­gally from qual­i­fy­ing for asy­lum.

Once the plan goes into full ef­fect, mi­grants en­ter­ing at the U.S. south­ern bor­der would only be el­i­gi­ble for asy­lum if they re­port at of­fi­cial ports of en­try, of­fi­cials said.

“What we are at­tempt­ing to do is try­ing to fun­nel ... asy­lum claims through the ports of en­try where we are bet­ter re­sourced, have bet­ter ca­pa­bil­i­ties and bet­ter man­power and staffing to ac­tu­ally han­dle those claims in an ex­pe­di­tious and ef­fi­cient man­ner,” a se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial told re­porters in a news briefing on Thurs­day, on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has al­ready made it more dif­fi­cult for mi­grants to qual­ify for asy­lum in the United States. Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials have said ex­ist­ing U.S. asy­lum rules en­cour­age il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and bog down le­git­i­mate claims.

In June, then-At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions is­sued an ap­pel­late de­ci­sion that sharply nar­rowed the cir­cum­stances un­der which im­mi­grants can use vi­o­lence at home as grounds for U.S. asy­lum.

Ses­sions, who re­signed at Trump’s re­quest this week, also in­structed im­mi­gra­tion judges and asy­lum of­fi­cers to view il­le­gal bor­der-cross­ing as a “se­ri­ous ad­verse fac­tor” in de­cid­ing a case and to con­sider whether ap­pli­cants could have es­caped dan­ger by re­lo­cat­ing within their own coun­tries.

Trump made his hard-line poli­cies to­ward im­mi­gra­tion a key is­sue ahead of Tues­day’s midterm elec­tions, send­ing thou­sands of U.S. troops to help se­cure the south­ern bor­der and re­peat­edly draw­ing at­ten­tion to a car­a­van of Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants trekking through Mex­ico to­ward the United States.

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