Trump announces plan to deny asylum-seekers who don't show up at ports of entry, in latest major immigration policy shift
President Trump announced in a lengthy speech at the White House on Thursday afternoon that, in response to what he called the "crisis at our southern border" and a surge of fraudulent asylum claims in recent years, his administration will soon require asylum-seekers to "lawfully present themselves" at a port of entry.
The move appeared designed to prevent many members of the leading Central American migrant caravan -- which now numbers approximately 4,000, down from a high of 7,200 -- from making asylum claims if and when they reach the U.S. border. Asylum claims made by migrants caught crossing the border illegally would seemingly be summarily denied under Trump's proposal.The asylum clause of the Immigration and Nationality Act says that anyone who arrives to the U.S. may apply for asylum based on a well-founded fear of persecution, and Trump's decision was likely to prompt immediate federal court challenges.
In his remarks, Trump called the thousands of migrants in the approaching caravans from Central America "not legitimate asylum-seekers" because most of them have not decided to remain in Mexico and pursue asylum there. "Asylum is not a program for people living in poverty," he said.
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