WASHINGTON, DC – The Trump administration has proposed a major change for those seeking asylum in the United States, saying migrants coming through another country to reach the US southern border must first apply for asylum elsewhere.
So those headed to the US from Central America to seek asylum would first need to seek asylum in Mexico or another country along the way. Then, only if their application is denied there would they be allowed to seek asylum here.
President Trump made the major announcement as part of his attempt to crackdown on the crush of migrants coming to the southern border.
Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said, "Ultimately, today's action will reduce the overwhelming burdens on our domestic system caused by asylum-seekers failing to seek urgent protection in the first available country, economic migrants lacking a legitimate fear of persecution, and the transnational criminal organizations, traffickers, and smugglers exploiting our system for profits."
The president's motives for moves likes this one are constantly criticized by his opponents. But he addressed concerns about his approach to immigration reform with CBN News aboard Air Force One back in October of last year.
CBN's Chief Political Analyst David Brody asked him, "Critics who say, look, you are just doing this for political reasons to gin up the base, what's the answer to that?"
Trump replied, "Well if I am I've been doing it for a long time, I've been on this issue for a long time ever since you've known me and now we have a chance to do something about it. The problem is we need Democrat votes, we have no Democrat votes."
Democrats pushed back on this latest move to curb immigration, with 2020 presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke calling the new policy "inhumane".
Attorney General William Barr argues that's not true, adding that the US is a "generous country but is being completely overwhelmed."
Immigration courts are backlogged by more than 800,000 cases. In 2018, there were 162,060 claims filed and 13,169 were granted.
The asylum rule does apply to children who crossed the border alone. But the new policy does include exceptions – for example, victims of human trafficking.
The rule is set to take effect Tuesday, but the ACLU is vowing a legal challenge.
Meanwhile, migrant communities are bracing in the US after talk of a major deportation of illegal immigrants. ICE is expected to target roughly 2,000 people in 10 cities this week.
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