WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has proclaimed a proclamation to deny asylum to migrants illegally entering the country, citing the border as caravans of Central Americans slowly approach the United States. The plan was immediately challenged in court.
Trump invoked the same powers that he used last year to impose a travel ban that was enforced by the Supreme Court. The new rules are intended to circumvent laws that state that everyone is eligible for asylum regardless of how he or she enters the country. Approximately 70,000 people per year who illegally enter the country claim asylum, according to officials.
"We need people in our country, but they have to come in legally", Trump said on Friday when he left for Paris.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other legal groups quickly filed a lawsuit with the federal court in Northern California to block the prescriptions because the measures were unlawful.
"The president simply tries to ignore the decision of the US Congress to grant asylum to people in danger, regardless of how someone comes in," said ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt.
The process also aims to put the new rules on hold as the matter progresses.
The regulations will take effect on Saturday. They would be in place for at least three months, but could be extended and do not affect people who already live in the country. The Ministry of Justice said in a statement that the rules were lawful.
The announcement by Trump was the last attempt to enforce a harsh attitude towards immigration through regulatory changes and presidential elections, passing Congress, which has not yet passed reform of immigration law. But those efforts have been largely hampered by legal challenges and, in the case of family separations this year, hampered by a global outcry that caused Trump to retire.
Officials said the changes in asylum legislation are intended to lead migrants through official border crossings for quick statements instead of trying to circumvent such crossings on the nearly 3,200 kilometer border. According to the American border patrol, more than 50,000 people have illegally crossed in October and this year reached a new record high, although illegal crossings are well below the historic highs of the past decades.
But the busy ports of entry have long queues and waiting, which means immigration officials have to tell some migrants to turn around and come back to make their progress. In recent months, backlogs have become especially bad at crossroads in California, Arizona and Texas, while some people wait five weeks to try to request asylum at the San Diego crossover.
"The arrival of large numbers … will contribute to the overload of our immigration and asylum system and the release of thousands … to the interior of the United States," Trump said in the proclamation and called it a crisis.
Government officials said that those who denied asylum under the proclamation could be eligible for similar forms of protection if they were afraid to return to their country, although they would be subject to a stricter threshold. These forms of protection include "abstention from removal" – which is similar to asylum, but does not allow green cards or families – or protection under the UN Convention against Torture.
Internal Security officials said they added staff at border crossings to manage the anticipated infatuation, but it is not clear how migrants, especially families, are being held if their cases are tried. Family detention centers are largely on capacity. Trump has said that he & # 39; tent cities & # 39; wanted to set up, but nothing has been financed.
The US is also working with Mexico to send a number of migrants back across the border. At the moment, the laws only allow Mexican citizens to be quickly reduced and, increasingly, those seeking asylum come from Central America.
Trump pushed immigration problems hard in the days leading up to Tuesday's interim elections, denouncing the caravans that are still hundreds of miles away from the border.
He has paid little attention to the problem since the election, but has sent troops to the border in response. As of Thursday, more than 5,600 American troops were deployed at the border mission, with around 550 actually working at the Texas border.
Trump also suggested that he withdraw the right to citizenship for babies born by non-US citizens on US soil and massive tent cities & # 39; to establish migrants. These issues were not addressed by the regulations. But Trump insisted that the question of citizenship be pushed through.
"We sign it, we do it," he said.
The administration has long claimed that immigration officials drown in asylum cases, partly because people wrongly apply for asylum and then live in the US with work permits. In 2017, the US submitted more than 330,000 asylum applications, almost double the two years earlier and surpassed Germany as the highest in the world.
Migrants crossing illegally are generally arrested and often seek asylum or other forms of protection. In recent years, the claims have risen sharply and the immigration court's backlog has more than doubled to 1.1 million cases in about two years, reports the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University this week. In general, only about 20 percent of applicants are approved.
It is unclear how many people even come to the border on their way to the United States. Approximately 5,000 migrants – more than 1,700 under 18 years – sheltered in a sports complex in Mexico City decided to leave for the northern city of Tijuana on Friday, looking for the longer but probably safer route to the American border.
Similar caravans have regularly met over the years and have generally declined by the time they reach the southern border, particularly to Tijuana. Most have largely gone unnoticed.
Associated Press writers Elliot Spagat in San Diego, Nomaan Merchant in Houston and Jill Colvin and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.
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