Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials aim to re­strict asy­lum at bor­der

China Daily - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — The US gov­ern­ment said on Thurs­day it will deny asy­lum to mi­grants who en­ter the coun­try il­le­gally, in­vok­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary pres­i­den­tial na­tional se­cu­rity pow­ers to tighten the bor­der as car­a­vans of Cen­tral Amer­i­cans slowly ap­proach the United States.

The mea­sures 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 3,200kilo­me­ter bor­der. But the busy ports of en­try al­ready have long lines and waits, forc­ing im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials to tell some mi­grants to come back to make their claims.

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 is un­known whether those in the car­a­van, plan to cross il­le­gally.

The reg­u­la­tions will be in­cor­po­rated in a procla­ma­tion ex­pected to be is­sued on Fri­day by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. He will in­voke the same pow­ers he used to push through a ver­sion of the travel ban that was up­held by the Supreme Court, ac­cord­ing to se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials. The of­fi­cials were not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity. The reg­u­la­tions would cir­cum­vent laws stat­ing that any­one is el­i­gi­ble for asy­lum no mat­ter how he or she en­ters the coun­try,

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 asy­lum un­der the United Na­tions Con­ven­tion Against Tor­ture.

The an­nounce­ment was the lat­est push to en­force Trump’s hard-line stance on im­mi­gra­tion through reg­u­la­tory changes and pres­i­den­tial or­ders, by­pass­ing Congress. 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 scrap them.

The new changes were likely to be met with le­gal chal­lenges, too. Omar Jad­wat, di­rec­tor of the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union’s Im­mi­grants’ Rights Project, said they were clearly il­le­gal.

“US law specif­i­cally al­lows in­di­vid­u­als to ap­ply for asy­lum whether or not they are at a port of en­try. It is il­le­gal to cir­cum­vent that by agency or pres­i­den­tial de­cree,” he said.

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