USA proposes banning asylum through southern border

Glen Norman
November 9, 2018

Human rights groups denounced President Donald Trump's flouting of federal and worldwide law Friday after the Trump administration announced new rules giving the president the authority to deny any asylum to any migrant who enters the United States without going through an official point of entry.

Worldwide refugee law says that asylum seekers have the right to lodge asylum claims irrespective of illegal entry or presence, which U.S. asylum law affirms by saying, "any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival...) irrespective of such aliens status, may apply for asylum".

Trump is expected to announce on Friday which countries the new rule will apply to, but critics say he is clearly targeting the small group of Central American migrants who are now traveling to the USA from Honduras, after escaping violence and unrest.

The White House announced Thursday that it will crack down on "meritless" claims of asylum by illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border.

But the asylum restrictions are the latest attempts by the administration to assert executive powers to restrict immigrants and foreigners from entering the United States.


"Asylum-seekers have been left to camp out for days and weeks on bridges at the border, when they should be guaranteed a right to enter the country for a fair hearing".

The regulation would "channel inadmissible aliens to ports of entry, where they would be processed in a controlled, orderly, and lawful manner", according to the statement.

Trump's proclamation does not apply to unaccompanied children, officials said.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at halting the flow of migrants seeking to cross into the United States without papers, a lot of them requesting asylum due to violence in their home countries.

"U.S. law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry".


"We do this because of our obligations under global law and who we are as a country, and what we understand our role to be in terms of protecting people fleeing persecution", added Jadwat, who said ACLU attorneys have been anticipating the measures and reviewing legal options. The sweeping move is part of the administration's ongoing effort to restrict migration.

The ban drew multiple legal challenges and forced the administration to issue three different versions before a revised ban was upheld in June by the Supreme Court on a 5 to 4 vote. Claims have spiked in recent years, and there is a backlog of more than 800,000 cases pending in immigration court, with a wait time that can be almost two years.

The administration has also looked to end protections under programs in which tens of thousands of people from Honduras and El Salvador, who entered the country after hurricanes and earthquakes devastated their countries near the beginning of the century.

It's unclear how many people en route to the US will even make it to the border.

About 4,800 migrants are sheltered in a sports complex in Mexico City, some 965 kilometres from the US border.


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

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