Pres­i­dent’s or­der to limit asy­lum chal­lenged in court

The Oklahoman - - NATION | WORLD - BY COLLEEN LONG

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is­sued an or­der 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 clearly il­le­gal.

“The pres­i­dent is sim­ply try­ing to run roughshod over Con­gress’s 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 rules on hold while the lit­i­ga­tion pro­gresses.

It wasn’t clear whether the case would go be­fore a judge be­fore the rules go into ef­fect Satur­day. They would be in place for at least three months but could be ex­tended, and don’t af­fect peo­ple al­ready in the coun­try.

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. Bor­der Pa­trol agents in Yuma said they ar­rested nearly 450 mi­grants in West­ern Ari­zona this week.

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