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Trump signs proclamation limiting asylum seekers

Trump signs proclamation limiting asylum seekers

Donald Trump's administration has unveiled new rules to sharply limit migrant asylum claims by barring individuals who cross the USA southern border illegally from seeking asylum.

Mr. Trump's action would invoke emergency national security powers and may run into legal hurdles.

"Those who enter the country between ports are knowingly and voluntarily breaking the law", said one official.

"The vast majority of aliens who enter illegally today come from the Northern Triangle countries", the regulation's text says.

The new rule was announced via a joint statement by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security, and will not become effective until US President Donald Trump issues a proclamation, which is expected sometime Friday.

Migrants pause to sleep and rest in Mexico City, Mexico, on their way to the U.S. border from South America.

The Trump administration has already made it more hard for migrants to qualify for asylum in the United States. Trump said last week that he planned to modify the asylum process to make it more hard for Central American migrants in the caravan to request protection.

The US order says asylum requests will continue to be accepted from migrants who seek to cross at official US ports of entry.

"US law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry". In both cases, the applicant has to demostrate a credible threat if they were to return home.

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The White House is preparing to end asylum access for anyone who crosses its borders illegally.

A number of lower courts had originally deemed the measure unconstitutional. In recent weeks the wait at some crossings has stretched to several days or more, and in Tijuana the list of asylum seekers has grown to more than 1,000 people.

He called a current caravan, which is still hundreds of miles from the United States border and dwindling in numbers, an "invasion" and said it would bring hardened criminals to U.S. streets.

Officials said once the plan came into full effect, migrants entering at the United States southern border would only be eligible for asylum if they reported at official ports of entry.

That status does not give foreigners a path to a green card or citizenship, and instead functions as a kind of provisional suspension of the deportation process, revocable at any time. Claims have spiked in recent years, and there is a backlog of more than 800,000 cases pending in immigration court, with a wait time that can be almost two years.

"These restrictions are illegal - asylum is a legal right regardless of how someone enters the country", RAICES, an immigrant legal services organisation in Texas, said in a statement.

"We do this because of our obligations under global law and who we are as a country, and what we understand our role to be in terms of protecting people fleeing persecution", added Jadwat, who said ACLU attorneys have been anticipating the measures and reviewing legal options. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", he said.

What is the new rule?

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