Trump administration moves forward with asylum restrictions

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President Donald Trump has blamed USA asylum rules for luring thousands of migrants a year from Central American countries.

"US law is crystal clear that asylum seekers have the right to lodge asylum claims regardless of where they enter the country, and President Trump can not change the law on a whim", said Bill Frelick, Refugee Rights director at Human Rights Watch. As of Thursday, there are more than 5,600 USA troops deployed to the border mission, with about 550 actually working on the border in Texas.

The rule 'would bar such aliens from eligibility for asylum and thereby channel inadmissible aliens to ports of entry, where they would be processed in a controlled, orderly, and lawful manner'.

Last Thursday, before heading to a campaign really, Trump also said migrants seeking asylum will be kept in tent cities, rather than released until their cases are adjudicated in immigration court.

With the administration unveiling a new policy Thursday night that will expedite deportations of people who cross into the U.S. illegally and deny previously legal asylum claims and sign an executive order on that policy Friday morning, the White House is prepared for the lawsuits likely to be brought against it.

Frequently attacking a caravan of thousands of Central Americans making their way north through Mexico, Mr Trump ordered troops to the border and declared the migrants to be an "invasion".

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Immigrant advocates denounced the move, saying it violated existing US law that allows people fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries to apply for asylum regardless of whether they enter illegally or not.

Thanks to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asylum rules were reformed to prevent migrants from receiving asylum by claiming they are fleeing violence, gangs, or domestic abuse.

This is expected to put a dent in those streaming into an already overburdened system, officials said, noting that there is a backlog of more than 700,000 cases in the immigration courts. Those issues were not addressed by the regulations Thursday.

The move would limit the ability of migrants seeking asylum at the border. Generally, only about 20 per cent of applicants are approved. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA 208 (b)(2)(C)) unambiguously states that ineligibility grounds for asylum established by regulation must be "consistent with" section 208 of the INA, which explicitly says that aliens may lodge asylum claims "not at a designated port of entry". But many migrants are unaware of that guidance, and official border crossings have grown clogged. "Since 2017, Amnesty has documented that thousands of people already wait for weeks on end at the ports of entry, and others have been wrongfully turned away by USA border officials as they attempt to seek protection".

Similar caravans have gathered regularly over the years and have generally dwindled by the time they reach the southern border.

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