The White House announced Thursday that it will crack down on “meritless” claims of asylum by illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border.
The new rule will require that migrants who wish to claim asylum do so at an official border crossing.
President Trump is expected to enact the rule Friday in a presidential proclamation.
“Consistent with our immigration laws, the President has the broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens into the United States if he determines it to be in the national interest to do so,” Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a joint statement. “Today's rule applies this important principle to aliens who violate such a suspension or restriction regarding the southern border imposed by the President by invoking an express authority provided by Congress to restrict eligibility for asylum. Our asylum system is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims from aliens who place a tremendous burden on our resources, preventing us from being able to expeditiously grant asylum to those who truly deserve it. Today, we are using the authority granted to us by Congress to bar aliens who violate a Presidential suspension of entry or other restriction from asylum eligibility.”
Senior administration officials hope the effort to make asylum claims more orderly will help speed up the process of assessing and adjudicating the claims.
According to DHS, the department has seen a 2,000 percent increase since 2013 in migrants claiming that they have "credible fear" of persecution should they return to their home country. In 2017, the U.S. fielded more than 330,000 asylum claims, nearly double the number two years earlier and surpassing Germany as highest in the world.
A senior administration official said Thursday that the vast majority of such claims are "non-meritorious."
Administration officials said those denied asylum under the proclamation may be eligible for similar forms of protection if they fear returning to their countries, though they would be subject to a tougher threshold. Those forms of protection include "withholding of removal" -- which is similar to asylum, but doesn't allow for green cards or bringing families -- or asylum under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. (FoxNews.com)
The rule has already faced backlash, with groups promising a legal response.
"The proposal is patently unlawful and there will be a court challenge," said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.
"U.S. law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry. It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree," said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.