Trump Signs Immigration Proclamation to Limit Asylum Claims

By Shani Saxon Nov 09, 2018

Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation this morning (November 9) that seeks to deny asylum to migrants who enter the country illegally. Instead, government officials hope to “funnel asylum seekers toward ports of entry,” Politico reports. 

The new regulations go into effect starting Saturday (November 10) and are expected to last for three months, or until “the United States reaches an agreement with Mexico allowing it to turn back asylum-seekers who had traveled through Mexico,” according to Reuters. However, there is currently no indication that Mexico is even considering making an agreement along those lines.

Although Trump’s latest power move will undoubtedly face legal challenges, his administration made the decision to circumvent current U.S. law that states that anyone is eligible for asylum no matter how or where they enter the country. The Washington Post reports Trump’s team believes crossing the border at official points of entry will promote “speedy rulings.” 

However, ports of entry are plagued by long lines and extreme waits, forcing some migrants to turn around. While addressing reporters on Friday before flying off to Paris, Trump said, “We need people in our country, but they have to come in legally and they have to have merit.”

The big question is, what will happen to people who are denied asylum under the new proclamation? Trump officials say those people may still be eligible for some forms of protection, although they would be “subject to a tougher threshold,” The Post reports. For example, “withholding of removal” is similar to asylum, but doesn’t allow migrants the opportunity to obtain a green card or to bring family members. They might also be eligible for protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

News of the asylum proclamation comes a day after the Trump administration lost a legal battle against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A federal appeals court in California ruled Thursday (November 8) the government must continue to protect hundreds of thousands Dreamers, or people who were brought to the United States illegally as children. Trump says he plans to appeal the decision, according to Reuters

“The DACA will now hopefully go to the Supreme Court where it will be given a fair decision,” the president said.