Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to deny asy­lum to mi­grants who en­ter coun­try il­le­gally

New poli­cies will curb long-stand­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian rules

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - NATION & WORLD 2 - In­for­ma­tion from The As­so­ci­ated Press was in­cluded in this re­port.

WASH­ING­TON — The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced new mea­sures Thurs­day that would deny asy­lum to mi­grants who en­ter the coun­try il­le­gally, in­vok­ing emer­gency pow­ers to curb long-stand­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian pro­tec­tions for for­eign­ers who ar­rive on Amer­i­can soil.

The re­stric­tions rely on au­thor­i­ties in­voked by the pres­i­dent to im­ple­ment his travel ban in early 2017, ac­cord­ing to se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials who briefed re­porters on the mea­sures.

“Those who en­ter the coun­try be­tween ports are know­ingly and vol­un­tar­ily break­ing the law,” said one of­fi­cial. “So while im­mi­gra­tion laws af­ford peo­ple var­i­ous forms of pro­tec­tion, there’s a vi­o­la­tion of fed­eral law in the man­ner th­ese il­le­gal aliens are en­ter­ing the coun­try.”

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is pre­par­ing a procla­ma­tion to as­sert the emer­gency pow­ers, and the rule changes will be pub­lished Fri­day in the Fed­eral Reg­is­ter, the of­fi­cials said.

Le­gal chal­lenges are ex­pected to fol­low soon af­ter. Im­mi­gra­tion ad­vo­cacy groups in­sist U.S. laws clearly ex­tend asy­lum pro­tec­tions to any­one who reaches the United States, no mat­ter how they en­ter the coun­try.

The asy­lum re­stric­tions are the lat­est at­tempts by the ad­min­is­tra­tion to as­sert ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers to re­strict im­mi­grants and for­eign­ers from en­ter­ing the U.S. And with thou­sands of Cen­tral Amer­i­cans mov­ing north through Mex­ico in car­a­van groups, Trump has been de­mand­ing new tools to stop them at the bor­der.

Pri­vately, Home­land Se­cu­rity De­part­ment of­fi­cials ac­knowl­edge the new re­stric­tions, at least on their own, are un­likely to achieve the kind of im­me­di­ate de­ter­rent the White House de­sires.

De­ten­tion space at U.S. im­mi­gra­tion jails al­ready is nearly at ca­pac­ity, and court-im­posed lim­its on the gov­ern­ment’s abil­ity to hold chil­dren in im­mi­gra­tion jails for longer than 20 days mean most mi­grant fam­i­lies who ar­rive seek­ing pro­tec­tion are still likely to be re­leased pend­ing a hear­ing.

The new mea­sures un­der prepa­ra­tion would con­tinue to al­low for­eign­ers to re­quest asy­lum if they en­ter the coun­try legally at U.S. ports of en­try, but not those who cross with­out au­tho­riza­tion, ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials said.

Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants in a car­a­van that has stopped in Mex­ico City de­manded buses Thurs­day to take them to the U.S. bor­der, say­ing it is too cold and dan­ger­ous to con­tinue walk­ing and hitch­hik­ing.

Mex­ico City au­thor­i­ties say that of the 4,841 reg­is­tered mi­grants re­ceiv­ing shel­ter in a sports com­plex, 1,726 are un­der the age of 18, in­clud­ing 310 chil­dren younger than 5.

“We need buses to con­tinue trav­el­ing,” said Mil­ton Ben­itez, a car­a­van co­or­di­na­tor. He noted that it would be colder in north­ern Mex­ico and it wasn’t safe for the mi­grants to con­tinue along high­ways, where drug car­tels fre­quently op­er­ate.

He said the route and de­par­ture time would be de­cided at a meet­ing Thurs­day night.

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