Trump administration moves to restrict asylum seekers at border

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Immigrant advocates quickly denounced the administration's move.

Mr. Trump had telegraphed the move last week, saying he was fed up with migrants exploiting USA laws by making bogus claims.

Every year the U.S. admits more than 1.5 million foreign nationals, with the vast majority deriving from family-based chain migration, whereby newly naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the U.S. In 2016, the legal and illegal immigrant population reached a record high of 44 million.

The Trump administration said Thursday it will deny asylum to migrants who enter the country illegally, invoking extraordinary presidential national security powers to tighten the border as caravans of Central Americans slowly approach the United States.

They said he would sign a proclamation Friday putting the new rules into effect before he leaves for a trip to Paris later in the day. Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, said they were clearly illegal.

Those seeking political or other kinds of asylum - almost all of them coming from impoverished and violent crime-plagued countries of Central America - will be heard exclusively at the border crossings, administration officials told journalists.

One senior administration official spoke to reporters in a news briefing on condition of anonymity.

The busy ports of entry already had long lines and waits, forcing immigration officials to tell some migrants to come back to make their claims.

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Administration officials have said existing U.S. asylum rules encouraged illegal immigration and bogged down legitimate claims.

In 2018, border patrols registered more than 400,000 illegal border crossers, homeland security said.

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".

The announcement was the latest push to enforce Trump's hard-line stance on immigration through regulatory changes and presidential orders, bypassing Congress.

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

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.

Trump said he was sending 15,000 active duty military to the border to deal with the problem, in what former President Barack Obama called a political 'stunt.' The troops began laying barbed wire as the migrants traveled toward the USA on foot.

Claims have spiked in recent years, and there is a backlog of more than 800,000 cases pending in immigration court. His administration also deployed thousands of troops to the border, and said he massive tent cities are being erected to house asylum seekers until there is a decision on their application.

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