United States to deny asylum to illegal border crossers

Members of one of the migrant caravans riding on a truck in Donaji Mexico last week

Members of one of the migrant caravans riding on a truck in Donaji Mexico last week

The sweeping move is part of the administration's ongoing effort to restrict migration.

The issue of the country's loose asylum laws - where foreign nationals can claim that they fear for their lives in their native country and be released into the US until their day in court - has sparked debate as a caravan of 7,000 to 10,000 Central Americans heads to the U.S.

The new rules will nearly certainly face court challenges.

The Trump administration is taking steps to tighten asylum rules for immigrants, something President Trump declared he would do last week ahead of Tuesday's midterms.

The regulations released, in conjunction with an order expected to be signed by President Donald Trump, would effectively ban migrants who cross the U.S. border with Mexico illegally from qualifying for asylum. Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, said they were clearly illegal.

Under the new rule, immigrants would have to make their asylum claim at an official point of entry, where it could be processed.

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

But the administration official argued that "what we're attempting to do is trying to funnel credible fear claims, or asylum claims, through the ports of entry where we are better resourced". It's unknown whether those in the caravan, many fleeing violence in their homeland, plan to cross illegally.

Two senior administration officials that spoke to NBC News said that "of the [immigration] measures most likely to be approved by the president, all were likely to lead to a lawsuit".

In nearly 50 percent of cases where Central American migrants passed their initial asylum-seeking screening, the migrant never appeared for their asylum hearing or did not even file an asylum application.

That way, he said, courts will "handle those claims in an expeditious and efficient manner, so that those who do actually require an asylum protection get those protections". As of Thursday, there are more than 5,600 US troops deployed to the border mission, with about 550 actually working on the border in Texas.

The United States will no longer allow people who enter the country illegally to claim asylum, officials said Thursday, unveiling a controversial new crackdown on immigration.

This is expected to put a dent in those streaming into an already overburdened system, officials said, noting that there is a backlog of more than 700,000 cases in the immigration courts.

Trump also suggested he'd revoke the right to citizenship for babies born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil and erect massive "tent cities" to detain migrants.

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

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