The Trump administration proposed a policy that slaps asylum applicants with a fee and places greater restrictions on their work permits.
In a memorandum delivered to Attorney General William Barr and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Monday night, President Donald Trump asked to move forward with new asylum restrictions. The requests include imposing a fee for making an asylum request and barring people who tried entering the country illegally from getting a work permit until their case is adjudicated.
The directive also seeks to expedite the asylum process by requiring immigration courts to settle cases within 180 days.
“The purpose of this memorandum is to strengthen asylum procedures to safeguard our system against rampant abuse of our asylum process,” read a portion of the memo from Trump, who added that the “security and humanitarian crisis” at the U.S. southern border “undermines our nation’s security and sovereignty.”
The White House has not yet established a specific fee for asylum claims, and the memo does not ask that the orders be followed on immediately. Officials have been given a 90-day window to formulate a game plan.
The memorandum comes as the number of illegal migrants appearing at the U.S.-Mexico border has increased dramatically in the past few months. Over 103,000 foreign nationals were turned back or apprehended at the border in the month of March, marking the highest month in over a decade. The 2019 fiscal year has already surpassed the previous fiscal year in nationwide apprehensions — and it’s only halfway over.
A large portion of these migrants are family units from Central America who immediately lodge asylum claims, buckling a system designed for single males from Mexico who can be quickly deported. The result has been overfilled detention centers and immigration courts stretched past their limits. (RELATED: District Attorneys Suing To Keep ICE Agents Out Of Courthouses)
There is a backlog of more than 800,000 pending asylum cases in the immigration court system, amounting to an average wait time of nearly two years.
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