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President Donald Trump plans to take executive action, possibly as early as Friday, to limit the ability of migrants to seek asylum at the southwest border, an administration official confirmed Wednesday.
Trump signaled last week that he would issue a “comprehensive” directive in the coming days that deals with immigration.
The president fumed in the run-up to the midterm elections over a group of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico en route to the United States. Republican voters considered immigration a major issue in the elections — and Trump hammered home the message that the caravan amounted to an “invasion” on the southwest border.
The administration has considered a fast-track regulation paired with a presidential proclamation to block asylum seekers, POLITICO reported last month.
A working group of administration officials met Wednesday to discuss possible moves, according to a Homeland Security Department official with knowledge of the gathering. .... (cont)
In a speech at the White House last week, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that the migrant caravan — comprising thousands of asylum seekers traveling from Central America north to the U.S.-Mexico border — had become an “invasion.” According to Trump, the families fleeing violence and drought were “tough men” looking to “storm the border.”
As the midterms neared, the president repeated his ramped-up rhetoric at campaign rallies across the country. With the elections over, his words may have further long-term consequences: Trump’s dramatic depiction of a border crisis is setting the stage for his administration to undermine the country’s existing asylum policies.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who became known for his anti-immigration policies — resigned this week, making the future of asylum-seekers even more unclear. As the dust settles this week, here are three of the biggest changes to asylum that we know are currently being considered by the White House. The elections may be over, but the fallout for migrants might just be kicking into gear.
Banning asylum requests along most of the U.S.-Mexico border
According to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, a treaty that the U.S. signed in 1967, refugees have a legal right to seek asylum once they reach another country’s borders. While undocumented crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border are the lowest they’ve been since the 1970s, asylum claims are on the rise due to a variety of factors, including historic levels of violence in some Latin American countries, according to the Brookings Institute, a D.C.-based public policy think tank.
Trump recently said he’d ban all asylum claims made outside of official border crossings. Although this would put the U.S. in violation of the aforementioned treaty, immigration policy experts believe the administration is currently in the process of drafting a rule that would accomplish this change, said Sarah Pierce, an analyst with the Migration Policy institute. Vox first reported on the new policy after seeing a leaked draft of the regulation in June.
In addition to violating international law, the regulation would result in the deportation of people with a credible fear of persecution. It would also funnel more people to the United States’ official entry points, which are already overwhelmed, though even there, asylum seekers are being targeted. In October, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit alleging that Customs and Border Protection officials illegally turned back asylum seekers, in some cases at “pre-checkpoints” the agency had set up ahead of official crossings.
Detaining asylum seekers indefinitely and ending bond hearings ... (cont)