Trump administration moves to dramatically limit asylum claims

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The U.N. refugee agency says it's "deeply concerned" about new USA restrictions on asylum, saying it will put vulnerable families at risk.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas says President Donald Trump's suggestion that four Democratic congresswomen of color "go back" to where they came was inappropriate because the women are Americans.

The regulation, issued by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, will be published in the Federal Register and take effect Tuesday.

Raising the regulatory bar for asylum claims would also help the administration cut down on the total processing time for the claims while sending a message to the rest of the world that America's asylum policies are not a "get out of jail free" card for otherwise illegal immigration.

The rule would make it all but impossible for asylum-seekers to gain legal entry to the United States unless they first apply for asylum in a "third country".

But immigration advocates said forcing people to apply for asylum elsewhere is problematic because most of the other countries migrants travel through on their way to the US are rife with violence and corruption.

Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including an alien who is brought to the United States after having been interdicted in worldwide or United States waters), irrespective of such alien's status, may apply for asylum in accordance with this section or, where applicable, section 1225 (b) of this title.

Under the change, the migrants would be denied a chance at asylum if, after they left their home countries, they crossed another country that could provide protections from persecution or torture.

It means that migrants coming from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador can not seek asylum if they didn't first do so in Mexico.

"The philosophy of my administration is simple: if we can build it, grow it or make it in the United States - we will", said the president.

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Washington's malign influence has continued uninterruptedly, with the Obama administration and then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backing a 2009 coup in Honduras that led to a dramatic escalation of violence in that country. There are some exceptions, including whether an asylum seeker passed through a "safe" country first.

USA law allows refugees to request asylum when they arrive at the US regardless of how they did so.

Why is Mr Trump changing the asylum rules?

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Only migrants who have travelled through countries deemed to be "safe" face restrictions on their asylum claims in the US. Activists often leave water (pictured) and other supplies to help migrants survive the unsafe trek.

At present, immigration courts are backlogged by more than 800,000 cases, meaning most asylum seekers will have to wait months or years for a decision on their claims.

The treaties that countries must have signed according to the new rule are the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol or the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Attorney General William Barr called the interim final rule a "lawful exercise of authority provided by Congress to restrict eligibility for asylum".

What else is Mr Trump doing to reduce migration?

The asylum system has been a frequent target of the Trump administration, which has been frustrated with the number of migrants appearing at the southern border and requesting asylum.

Gelernt accused the Trump administration of "trying to unilaterally reverse our country's legal and moral commitment to protect those fleeing danger". Among users who follow Trump, 54 per cent approved of his job performance as of late 2018, compared with 24 percent of users who don't follow the President. He said many companies refused to hire him because his short-term transit permit in Mexico does not allow him to work.

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