Trump administration plans to tighten asylum rules

By Nick Miroff | Washington Post

As U.S. troops unfurl concertina wire along the banks of the Rio Grande, the Trump administration is preparing to announce new measures Thursday to fence off the U.S. immigration system by denying the ability of migrants to seek asylum in the United States if they enter illegally.

The restrictions would rely on emergency powers invoked by the president to implement his “travel ban” in early 2017, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the plans. Legal challenges seeking to delay or block the asylum restrictions are expected to follow.

The measures have been prepared over the past several weeks to satisfy President Donald Trump’s demand for ways to thwart caravan groups moving north through Mexico with an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 Central Americans.

Privately, Homeland Security officials acknowledge the new restrictions, at least on their own, are unlikely to achieve the kind of immediate deterrent effect the White House desires.

Detention capacity at U.S. immigration jails already nearly maxxed out, and court-imposed limits on the government’s ability to hold children in immigration jails for longer than 20 days mean most migrant families who arrive seeking protection are still likely to be released pending a hearing.

Under U.S. immigration laws, foreigners who arrive on American soil stating a fear of return can request asylum as a shield against deportation. A U.S. asylum officer then conducts an interview to determine if the person has a “credible fear” of persecution, in which case the applicant is typically assigned a court date and released from custody.

Soaring numbers of migrants have entered the United States taking this administrative path in recent years, often crossing illegally to turn themselves in to U.S. border agents. Since 2014, asylum claims at the border have increased fourfold, adding to a backlog of more than 750,000 pending cases in U.S. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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