White House readies crackdown on asylum seekers coming through Mexico

White House readies crackdown on asylum seekers coming through Mexico

The number of immigrant families, most from Central America, crossing into the U.S. to seek political asylum, has risen sharply in 2018. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

Under existing U.S. law, anyone who is physically present in the country is eligible to apply for asylum here, regardless of how they entered the country. Many Central American asylum seekers, and others who pass through Mexico from other parts of the world, cross the border unofficially and wait to be apprehended by Border Patrol officers. Others present themselves at official ports of entry, of which there are 48 between San Diego and Brownsville, Texas. But the procedure for dealing with them has been the same: Anyone who expresses a fear of returning to their home country is referred to an asylum officer with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who conducts what’s known as a “credible fear” interview to assess whether the person has a “well-founded fear” of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. If they qualify, the practice has been to release them into the population for a hearing on granting asylum status, which can take months or years.’ data-reactid=”25″>Under existing U.S. law, anyone who is physically present in the country is eligible to apply for asylum here, regardless of how they entered the country. Many Central American asylum seekers, and others who pass through Mexico from other parts of the world, cross the border unofficially and wait to be apprehended by Border Patrol officers. Others present themselves at official ports of entry, of which there are 48 between San Diego and Brownsville, Texas. But the procedure for dealing with them has been the same: Anyone who expresses a fear of returning to their home country is referred to an asylum officer with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who conducts what’s known as a “credible fear” interview to assess whether the person has a “well-founded fear” of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. If they qualify, the practice has been to release them into the population for a hearing on granting asylum status, which can take months or years.

President Trump has vowed to end that “catch and release” practice.

Migrants, part of a caravan traveling to the U.S., struggle to cross the river from Guatemala to Mexico in Ciudad Hidalgo and continue to walk in Mexico, Oct. 29, 2018. (Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters)

Under the new regulation, senior administration officials explained Thursday, border agents will now determine whether immigrants apprehended at the border are subject to the president’s forthcoming proclamation and, if so, any claims of fear will automatically be denied.

CNN reported Thursday that the administration was working to finalize language on an executive action aimed at limiting the number of asylum seekers allowed into the U.S. before the President’s departure for Paris on Friday, though it was unclear whether the documents would be ready for Trump to sign by then.’ data-reactid=”40″>CNN reported Thursday that the administration was working to finalize language on an executive action aimed at limiting the number of asylum seekers allowed into the U.S. before the President’s departure for Paris on Friday, though it was unclear whether the documents would be ready for Trump to sign by then.

evidence of a “border crisis.” They portrayed existing asylum laws as “loopholes” and accused migrants of making fraudulent asylum claims based on a fear of violence or persecution.  Experts have repeatedly rejected this characterization.’ data-reactid=”42″>Leading up to the midterms, Trump and members of his administration and Republican candidates had pointed to caravans of mostly Central American migrants traveling north through Mexico as evidence of a “border crisis.” They portrayed existing asylum laws as “loopholes” and accused migrants of making fraudulent asylum claims based on a fear of violence or persecution.  Experts have repeatedly rejected this characterization.



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