Washington (November 10, 2018): US president Donald Trump on Friday effectively suspended the granting of asylum to migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
The order, which goes into effect on Saturday, means that migrants will have to present themselves at U.S. ports of entry to qualify for asylum. U.S. immigrant advocates rushed to court to try to block the policy.
“I just signed the proclamation on asylum – very important,” Trump told reporters on Friday before leaving for Paris. “People can come in but they have to come in through the points of entry.”Trump made his hard-line policies toward immigration a key issue ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections. He has vowed to deploy troops at the border to stop a caravan of mainly Honduran migrants, currently edging their way through Mexico.
Several hundred of the caravan started north again on Friday after a rest in Mexico City. Many of them have said they want to seek asylum in the United States, citing violence in their own countries.
Trump’s proclamation said mass migration on the border had precipitated a crisis and he was acting to protect the national interest.
Trump’s proclamation does not apply to unaccompanied children, officials said.Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and other immigrant advocacy groups filed suit Friday in the Northern District of California to block the Trump administration’s plan to deny asylum protections to migrants who cross the Mexico border illegally.
“The asylum ban is not justified by events on the ground, puts lives in danger and is patently unlawful,” said Lee Gelernt, an ACLU attorney.
“The administration is flagrantly ignoring a federal statute and bypassing the most basic procedural requirements governing the issuance of new laws.”
Administration officials have anticipated the lawsuits, and the possibility that lower courts will side with the plaintiffs.