Trump ad­min look­ing for way to deny asy­lum to mi­grants

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Front Page - BY ANITA KU­MAR aku­mar@mc­clatchydc.com

Days be­fore the midterm elec­tion, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is de­vis­ing a plan to bar im­mi­grants from Cen­tral Amer­i­can coun­tries from ap­ply­ing for asy­lum in the United States.

The move, which has been in the works for two weeks, comes as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has spent days talk­ing about what he con­sid­ers a threat from sev­eral thou­sand mi­grants mak­ing their way from Cen­tral Amer­ica through Mex­ico to the U.S. border on foot.

The ac­tion has been talked about for months but grew more im­mi­nent in re­cent weeks, said a for­mer DHS of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion. “It’s an­other tool in the tool box.”

Two sources said the ac­tion would en­com­pass two ex­ec­u­tive or­ders: one, sim­i­lar to Trump’s so­called travel ban against mi­grants from ma­jor­i­tyMus­lim coun­tries, and an­other deny­ing asy­lum to those from Cen­tral Amer­ica who ar­rive at the border. Ex­perts said the or­ders would im­me­di­ately be chal­lenged in court.

In re­cent days, Trump, who won the White House af­ter cam­paign­ing on crack­ing down on im­mi­gra­tion, has blamed Democrats for im­mi­gra­tion prob­lems in the United States, which have led a car­a­van to head to the Mex­i­can border.

On Fri­day morn­ing, af­ter news broke about his pos­si­ble ex­ec­u­tive or­ders, Trump tweeted that Democrats were block­ing his at­tempts to pass “strong (but fair) laws.”

Two for­mer Trump ad­vis­ers who re­main close to the White House say Trump knows the is­sue has mo­ti­vated Repub­li­can vot­ers as the party tries to hold onto its ma­jori­ties in the midterm elec­tion in two weeks.

“Car­a­van at­tacks is play­ing well with vot­ers,” said one for­mer Trump ad­viser who re­mains close to the White House. Ear­lier Thurs­day, De­fense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis said 800 U.S. troops would be dis­patched to the south­ern border to help im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers with lo­gis­tics.

Repub­li­cans fight­ing to re­tain ma­jori­ties in Congress in a year when the pres­i­dent’s party tra­di­tion­ally loses ground have largely been out-raised by their Demo­cratic coun­ter­parts. Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats in the House and two in the Se­nate to gain con­trol of the cham­bers.

The United States nor­mally con­sid­ers asy­lum re­quests on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis and de­ter­mines whether the ap­pli­cant has a rea­son­able fear of harm if he or she re­turns to their home coun­try.

Gu­atemalans, Hon­durans and Sal­vado­rans are flee­ing gang crime vi­o­lence and poverty. Some women are also flee­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Pro-im­mi­gra­tion groups im­me­di­ately dubbed the ac­tion “The Latino Ban.”

“The pro­posed ban is yet an­other shame­ful at­tempt by this ad­min­is­tra­tion to block from the United States the vul­ner­a­ble men, women, and chil­dren who come to this coun­try seek­ing safety,” said Mike Breen, pres­i­dent and CEO of Hu­man Rights First. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion clearly believes it is above the law, but this Latino Ban will not hold up in court.”

Since he has been in of­fice, Trump has un­veiled many pro­pos­als to cut back on le­gal and il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion in the United States and on Thurs­day, the ad­min­is­tra­tion was pre­par­ing to send as many as 1,000 troops to help se­cure the south­ern border.

Trump had al­ready made im­mi­gra­tion a prom­i­nent part of their midterm cam­paigns and called vot­ers to elect Repub­li­cans to Congress who will give him cash to build a mas­sive border wall.

RO­DRIGO ABD AP

Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants are walk­ing through south­ern Mex­ico as part of a car­a­van headed to the United States. Many say they will ap­ply for asy­lum when they reach the U.S. border.

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