Trump Administration Sets Tighter Asylum Rules At Mexican Border

Donald Trump ordered new restrictions on migrants seeking asylum at the Mexican border that include application fees and work permit restraints, in addition to suggesting that cases in the already backed up immigration courts will be settled within 180 days.

In a memo sent to the acting secretary of homeland security, Kevin McAleenan, and Attorney General William P. Barr, Trump aims at reshaping asylum law, which is determined by Congress, from the White House.

Mr. Trump said in the memo, “The purpose of this memorandum is to strengthen asylum procedures to safeguard our system against rampant abuse of our asylum process.”

The document did not clarify how the plans would be carried out in immigration courts, with more than 800,000 cases pending and an average wait time of almost two years.

The Trump administration added to that backlog when it directed immigration authorities to reopen thousands of nonviolent removal cases. 

The memo specifically called for authorities to set a fee for asylum seekers filing their claims and a fee for work permit applications. Migrants who have entered or tried to enter the United States illegally would also be restricted from receiving a work permit until their claims are adjudicated.

Trump has given administration officials 90 days to put together regulations that carry out his orders, which would be among the first significant changes to asylum policy since McAleenan replaced Kirstjen Nielsen as head of homeland security.

So far, the administration has already tried to restrict the number of migrants who can apply for asylum per day, who qualifies for asylum and where they must wait for a resolution, according to the New York Times. Those same immigration policies have previously been the subject of multiple federal court cases.

Donald Trump Asylum
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

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