Trump to bar asy­lum for mi­grants en­ter­ing US il­le­gally

Merced Sun-Star - - News - BY NICK MIROFF

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in­tro­duced new mea­sures Thurs­day to deny asy­lum to mi­grants who en­ter the coun­try il­le­gally, in­vok­ing na­tional se­cu­rity pow­ers to curb long-stand­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian pro­tec­tions for for­eign­ers ar­riv­ing on Amer­i­can soil.

The re­stric­tions will in­voke au­thor­i­ties used by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to im­ple­ment his “travel ban” in early 2017, ac­cord­ing to se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials who out­lined them, and ap­ply in­def­i­nitely.

The mea­sures are ex­pected to face swift le­gal chal­lenges. Im­mi­grant ad­vo­cacy groups in­sist that U.S. laws clearly ex­tend asy­lum pro­tec­tions to any­one who reaches the United States and ex­presses a fear of per­se­cu­tion, no mat­ter how they en­ter the coun­try.

Trump is pre­par­ing to is­sue a procla­ma­tion as­sert­ing the emer­gency pow­ers, and the rule changes will be pub­lished Fri­day in the Fed­eral Reg­is­ter, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cials, who spoke with the me­dia in a con­fer­ence call on the con­di­tion of anonymity. They did not ex­plain why they could not be iden­ti­fied.

Th­ese asy­lum re­stric­tions mark the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s lat­est at­tempt to prevent im­mi­grants and for­eign­ers from en­ter­ing the United States. Thurs­day’s an­nounce­ment comes as an es­ti­mated 7,000 to 10,000 Cen­tral Amer­i­cans move north through Mex­ico in car­a­van groups. Trump has de­manded new tools to stop them from en­ter­ing the United States and or­dered the de­ploy­ment of thou­sands of the U.S. troops to back up bor­der agents.

“Our na­tion is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an un­prece­dented cri­sis on our South­ern Bor­der,” the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity said in a state­ment. “Low stan­dards for claim­ing a fear of per­se­cu­tion have al­lowed aliens with mer­it­less claims to il­le­gally en­ter our coun­try, claim “cred­i­ble fear,” and then in many cases be re­leased pend­ing lengthy pro­ceed­ings.”

Un­der U.S. im­mi­gra­tion laws, for­eign­ers who ar­rive on Amer­i­can soil stat­ing a fear of re­turn can re­quest asy­lum as a shield against de­por­ta­tion. A

U.S. asy­lum of­fi­cer then con­ducts an in­ter­view to de­ter­mine if the per­son has a “cred­i­ble fear” of per­se­cu­tion, in which case the ap­pli­cant is typ­i­cally as­signed a court date and re­leased from cus­tody.

Soar­ing num­bers of mi­grants have en­tered the United States tak­ing this ad­min­is­tra­tive path in re­cent years, of­ten cross­ing il­le­gally to turn them­selves in to U.S. bor­der agents. Since 2014, asy­lum claims at the bor­der have in­creased four­fold, adding to a back­log of more than 750,000 pend­ing cases in U.S. im­mi­gra­tion courts.

Un­der the changes, mi­grants who cross il­le­gally would be in­el­i­gi­ble for asy­lum, but they could still be spared from de­por­ta­tion by qual­i­fy­ing for a lesser sta­tus known as “with­hold­ing of re­moval.”

Qual­i­fy­ing for with­hold­ing of re­moval is gen­er­ally more dif­fi­cult, be­cause ap­pli­cants have to meet a higher stan­dard of proof.

TODD HEISLER NYT

Mi­grants from Cen­tral Amer­ica make their way to the town of Ta­panete­pec, in the south­west­ern state of Oax­aca, Mex­ico, last month.

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