Illegal border crossers now ineligible for asylum, White House says

Mr Trump has ordered thousands of U.S. troops to the border, claiming the migrant caravan is an "invasion" as he focused on immigration in the run-up to November's USA mid-term elections. Under the old rule, any immigrant in the country illegally arrested anywhere could instantly claim asylum and a case had to be filed for them, taking up resources and valuable time from an already overburdened asylum system.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials defend the practice on the grounds that the border crossings are not equipped to process hundreds of asylum seekers daily, and officers must continue to facilitate ordinary cross-border travel and trade while protecting the country from terrorists and drug runners.

The Department of Justice said in a press release on Friday that migrants who illegally enter the United States through the southern border with Mexico will be ineligible for asylum.

The interim final rule asserts that the administration can effect these changes under its regulatory authority, but in fact the rule represents an unlawful attempt to change the letter of the statute by regulation.

Under U.S. immigration laws, foreigners who arrive on American soil stating a fear of return can request asylum as a shield against deportation.

Trump's proclamation puts into practice regulations adopted by immigration officials on Thursday.

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

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Being tough on immigration was the focus of his midterm election campaign.

The ban drew multiple legal challenges and forced the administration to issue three different versions before a revised ban was upheld in June by the Supreme Court on a 5 to 4 vote.

"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. 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. The U.S. took in approximately 200,000 refugees per year in 1980, and the total had never fallen below 70,000 before Trump entered office.

The United States regularly sends Mexican undocumented entrants back across the border to their country, but has had difficulties gaining cooperation to repatriate Hondurans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans.

Interested in Donald Trump? The caravan is now around 600 miles from the United States.

About 4,800 migrants are sheltered in a sports complex in Mexico City, some 965 kilometres from the USA border. Most have passed largely unnoticed.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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