Trump aims to put lim­its on asy­lum

Civil lib­er­ties groups launch court protests

The Republican Herald - - NATION/ WORLD - BY COLLEEN LONG

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is­sued a procla­ma­tion Fri­day to deny asy­lum to mi­grants who en­ter the coun­try il­le­gally, tight­en­ing the bor­der as car­a­vans of Cen­tral Amer­i­cans slowly ap­proach the United States. The plan was im­me­di­ately chal­lenged in court.

Trump in­voked the same pow­ers he used last year to im­pose a travel ban that was up­held by the Supreme Court. The new reg­u­la­tions are in­tended to cir­cum­vent laws stat­ing that any­one is el­i­gi­ble for asy­lum no mat­ter how he or she en­ters the coun­try. About 70,000 peo­ple per year who en­ter the coun­try il­le­gally claim asy­lum, of­fi­cials said.

“We need peo­ple in our coun­try, but they have to come in legally,” Trump said Fri­day as he de­parted for Paris.

The Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union and other le­gal groups swiftly sued in fed­eral court in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia to block the reg­u­la­tions, ar­gu­ing the mea­sures were il­le­gal.

“The pres­i­dent is sim­ply try­ing to run roughshod over Congress’ de­ci­sion to pro­vide asy­lum to those in dan­ger re­gard­less of the man­ner of one’s en­try,” said ACLU at­tor­ney Lee Gel­ernt.

The lit­i­ga­tion also seeks to put the new rules on hold while the case pro­gresses.

The reg­u­la­tions go into ef­fect to­day. They would be in place for at l east three months but could be ex­tended, and don’t af­fect peo­ple al­ready in the coun­try. The Jus­tice Depart­ment said in a state­ment the reg­u­la­tions were law­ful.

Trump’s an­nounce­ment was the lat­est push to en­force a hard- line stance on im­mi­gra­tion through reg­u­la­tory changes and pres­i­den­tial or­ders, by­pass­ing Congress, which has not passed any im­mi­gra­tion law re­form. But those ef­forts have been largely thwarted by le­gal chal­lenges and, in the case of fam­ily sep­a­ra­tions this year, stymied by a global out­cry that prompted Trump to re­treat.

Of­fi­cials said the asy­lum law changes are meant to fun­nel mi­grants through of­fi­cial bor­der cross­ings for speedy rul­ings in­stead of hav­ing them try to cir­cum­vent such cross­ings on the nearly 2,000- mile bor­der. The U. S. Bor­der Pa­trol says it ap­pre­hended more than 50,000 peo­ple cross­ing il­le­gally in Oc­to­ber, set­ting a new high this year, though il­le­gal cross­ings are well be­low his­tor­i­cal highs from pre­vi­ous decades.

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 cl aims. Backlo gs have be­come es­pe­cially bad in re­cent months at cross­ings in Cal­i­for­nia, Ari­zona and Texas, with some peo­ple wait­ing five weeks to try to claim asy­lum at San Diego’s main cross­ing.

“The ar­rival of l arge 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.


Jose Ros­ales Fer­nan­dez, 18, of Pro­greso, Hon­duras, holds his 4- month- old son, Dariel, at a sports com­plex Fri­day in Mex­ico City.

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