New White House Rule Limits Asylum Seekers

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on November 09, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

President Trump is preparing a presidential proclamation to empower a new federal rule regarding asylum, which will be in direct conflict with current laws regarding asylum seekers and point of entry. Trump claims this is within his power as Chief, but Civil Rights activists claim this is illegal. Here's what you should know:

New Rule Limits Eligibility for Asylum Seekers Entering U.S. Southern Border

The Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department teamed up to draft a new federal rule regarding asylum entry at the southern border. The rule was signed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this week, prior to his resignation.

Current laws dictate that asylum seekers need not cross the border at a port of entry, like most immigrants. Rather, asylum seekers are allowed to cross anywhere they would like. However, this new rule sets penalties for asylum seekers crossing the southern border anywhere outside of ports of entry. Such penalties include barring them from being eligible for asylum status, and thereby making it exponentially more difficult for them to legally cross the border. Once in a designated port, the new rule also amends the current screening process for aliens subject to a bar on asylum eligibility.

ACLU Ready to Challenge New Rule

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claims the President and his administration has overstepped their powers, and this rule is illegal. The Immigration and Nationalization Act, amended in 1996, allows individuals to seek asylum, regardless of where they entered the U.S., if they feel a "well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion." The ACLU, and other Civil Rights groups, firmly believe that the President and his administration do not have the power to override this Act of Congress.

Is Metering Next?

It is further believed that the Administration's next step is to meter asylum seekers to match the Department of Homeland Security's personnel resources, thereby slowing the flow of asylum seekers allowed entry into the U.S. When metering at ports of entry has been done in the past, asylum seekers have chosen to bypass metering tactics altogether, and cross illegally. But now, the cost for doing so just got a lot higher.

If you or someone you love is facing immigration issues coming through the southern border, or any U.S. border, contact an immigration attorney today. Immigration laws are in constant flux lately, but one thing that hasn't changed is that immigrants have rights too. If you have any doubts about your situation, contact one today.

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