Trump Threatens Crackdown on Asylum-Seekers


President Donald Trump again stoked fears Thursday about undocumented immigrants and promised an executive order “sometime next week” that would severely restrict asylum-seekers who approach the southern U.S. border.

Speaking at the White House, Trump did not give specifics of his proposal other than to say migrants attempting to seek asylum must make their requests at legal points of entry, and that he wants to increase the detention of asylum-seekers.

The president made the claims five days before the U.S. midterm elections, when voters will determine which party will hold power in Congress and statehouses across the country.

FILE – A group of immigrants from Honduras and Guatemala seeking asylum receive help the bus station after they were processed and released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, June 21, 2018, in McAllen, Texas.

“Under this plan, the illegal aliens will no longer get a free pass into our country by lodging miraculous claims in seeking asylum,” Trump said. “Instead, migrants seeking asylum will have to present themselves lawfully at a port of entry.”

Existing law

It’s not clear how Trump’s proposal would work under existing law. The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act states that an alien who is physically present in the U.S., “whether or not at a designated port of arrival,” may apply for asylum in accordance to laws.

He also did not clarify how he wants to detain asylum-seekers, but hinted that he wants to build tent cities and “we’re going to hold them right there” without providing details.

Trump insisted his plan is “totally legal,” repeating the term “invasion” that he has previously used to describe the caravan of several thousand migrants, many of them women and children, trying to enter the U.S.

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