Illegal border crossers now ineligible for asylum, White House says

Trump just announced a big change to immigration policy – and it will affect caravan migrants

With the administration unveiling a new policy Thursday night that will expedite deportations of people who cross into the U.S. illegally and deny previously legal asylum claims and sign an executive order on that policy Friday morning, the White House is prepared for the lawsuits likely to be brought against it.

The interim final rule posted Thursday from the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security would bar immigrants who cross the "southern border unlawfully" from "eligibility for asylum". "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", the ACLU said.

Immigration was a major focus in President Trump's 2018 mid-term election campaign.

Trump made his hard-line policies toward immigration a key issue ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections, sending thousands of USA troops to help secure the southern border and repeatedly drawing attention to caravans of Central American migrants trekking through Mexico toward the United States.

The announcement said the president had the authority to impose "any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate".

Currently, U.S. asylum rules do not bar people who enter the country without authorization, and the Immigration and Nationality Act, which governs the U.S. immigration system, specifically allows people who arrive in the United States, whether or not they do so at a designated port of entry, to apply for asylum.

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A few hours later, Acosta announced on Twitter that he was denied access to the White House and his "hard pass" had been revoked. Trump exhibited quite a bit of tolerance, at first, answering several of Acosta's questions despite his combative tone.

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Manning said more than 7,000 active duty troops were expected to "soon" be supporting the Department of Homeland Security. The Pentagon said Monday more than 5,100 USA troops are now stationed across the border with Mexico.

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The new rule only applies to classes of migrants targeted in the upcoming presidential proclamation and is not retroactive.

Trump is expected to sign the order on Friday before leaving on a trip to Paris. As of Thursday, there are more than 5,600 USA troops deployed to the border mission, with about 550 actually working on the border in Texas.

The American Civil Liberties Union swiftly declared the move "illegal". "Since 2017, Amnesty has documented that thousands of people already wait for weeks on end at the ports of entry, and others have been wrongfully turned away by US border officials as they attempt to seek protection".

Human rights campaigners and other critics of the Trump crackdown say that by restricting asylum seekers to the narrow border crossing points - which are already under enormous pressure - the government is effectively shutting the door on people who may truly be fleeing for their lives. Under worldwide law, these are considered refugees.

"The narrative that people seeking refuge are a security threat is a manufactured crisis by the Trump administration rooted in the politics of hate and fear". He will invoke the same powers he used to push through a version of the travel ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court, according to senior administration officials.

A number of lower courts had originally deemed the measure unconstitutional.

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