The Trump administration has taken the next step toward barring migrants who illegally cross the border from claiming asylum.
President Trump announced changes to the asylum process in a press conference last week, saying he'd soon issue an executive order requiring asylum seekers to enter the U.S. at official ports of entry. All people caught crossing in other locations would be detained indefinitely, Trump said. The Justice Department published that change to the federal record on Thursday, but added that it won't be official until Trump issues a proclamation, likely on Friday, Bloomberg reports.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen released a statement introducing the rule change. In it, they said America's "asylum system is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims" and claimed Trump has the "authority to suspend or restrict" any immigration into the U.S. based on "national interest." That authority is similar to what Trump cited to back up last year's travel ban, The Washington Post notes, so it's likely this proposal will also be challenged in court. The Immigration and Nationality Act says that anyone who arrives in the U.S. "whether or not at a designated port of arrival" may apply for asylum, reports CNN.
Thursday's plan doesn't explicitly apply to just Central American migrants, per the Post. But Trump did tie the proposal to the "caravan" of Central American migrants headed toward the border in his press conference, claiming the military was building facilities at the border to detain the group. The Pentagon countered, saying the military isn't building any detention facilities. Read the entire massive asylum change here. Kathryn Krawczyk