Muslim Times(Web Desk) – The administration of US President Donald Trump says it will no longer allow people who enter the country illegally to claim asylum, a controversial new crackdown on immigration by the US government.
The regulations were released on Thursday by the US Department of Homeland Security in conjunction with an order by Trump.
The move would effectively ban migrants who cross the US border with Mexico illegally from qualifying for asylum.
Once the plan goes into full effect, migrants entering at the US southern border would only be eligible for asylum if they report at official ports of entry, US officials said.
Human rights groups and immigrant advocates denounced the move, saying it violated existing US law that allows people fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries to apply for asylum regardless of whether they enter illegally or not.
“US 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,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said.
The groups say the plan to funnel migrants to ports of entry was just a way to cut asylum claims overall.
“The government cannot abdicate its responsibility towards migrants fleeing harm,” the New York Immigration Coalition advocacy group said. “We will resist this.”
The Trump administration has already made it more difficult for migrants to qualify for asylum in the United States.
The Trump administration says existing US asylum rules encourage illegal immigration and bog down legitimate claims.
The new regulations would largely affect migrants from Central America’s Northern Triangle – Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – who frequently cross the US border with Mexico to flee violence and poverty in their home countries.
Trump has made his hard-line stance on immigration an integral part of his presidency and a key issue ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections.
He has ordered the deployment of thousands of US troops to help secure the southern border and has repeatedly drew attention to a caravan of Central American migrants trekking through Mexico toward the United States.