U.S. proposes banning asylum through southern border

Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally

In speeches and on Twitter, Trump hammered away almost daily at "caravans" of a few thousand impoverished Central Americans that periodically attempt to walk up through Mexico and then gain entry to the United States. As such, it is likely to be challenged in federal courts.

Trump made his hard-line policies toward immigration a key issue ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections, sending thousands of US troops to help secure the southern border and repeatedly drawing attention to caravans of Central American migrants trekking through Mexico toward the United States.

Migrants who show up at ports of entry demanding asylum would still be permitted.

Trump's proclamation puts into practice regulations adopted by immigration officials on Thursday. The official did not say where asylum-seekers would be housed should they arrive at those ports of entry in large numbers.

But with long queues of migrants at entry points already officials often have to tell those trying to enter the U.S. to return at a later time.

Many of these immigrants in the past have sought asylum citing a "credible fear" of harm having already committed other offenses, such as entering the country illegally.

US Army troops enter a compound where the military is erecting an encampment near the US-Mexico border crossing at Donna, Texas. Nonetheless, it would still give those who cross illegally a way to get into the immigration court backlog and released from custody, especially those who are traveling with children. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Rights Project, said. But many migrants are unaware of that guidance, and official border crossings have grown clogged.

More news: Obama brands Trump's border deployment plan a political stunt

Detention capacity at US immigration jails already almost 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.

"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".

In 2017, the US fielded more than 330,000 asylum claims, almost double the number two years earlier and surpassing Germany as highest in the world.

The move would largely affect migrants from Central America's Northern Triangle - Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador - who cross the USA border with Mexico to flee violence and poverty in their home countries. Those moves have been challenged in court. "Any person in the United States must have access to the asylum process".

Mr. Trump has also threatened to end birthright citizenship through executive order, although he has yet to do so.

About 4,800 migrants are sheltered in a sports complex in Mexico City, some 965 kilometres from the US border. Several smaller groups were trailing hundreds of miles to the south; officials estimated about 7,000 in all were in the country in the caravans. The migrants are largely poor people, and many say they're fleeing violence.

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

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