UPDATE – Trump signs proclamation limiting migrant asylum


By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Friday denying migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally the ability to seek asylum in America, prompting a lawsuit by a coalition of civil rights organizations.

Trump said he was signing the order "to channel these aliens to ports of entry" instead of trying to go around the ports across the 2,000-mile (3,200 kilometers) border.

"The continuing and threatened mass migration of aliens with no basis for admission into the United States through our southern border has precipitated a crisis and undermines the integrity of our borders," Trump said in the proclamation.

The proclamation will last for 90 days, and then it is the job of the Secretary of State, Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security to recommend a renewal or extension.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Southern Poverty Law Center and Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit against the order.

The civil rights organizations deemed the proclamation unlawful because it violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, which abolished the immigration quota system based on country of origin.

“President Trump’s new asylum ban is illegal. Neither the president nor his Cabinet secretaries can override the clear commands of U.S. law," Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said. "This action undermines the rule of law and is a great moral failure because it tries to take away protections from individuals facing persecution — it’s the opposite of what America should stand for.”

Trump's actions are in response to caravans of migrants headed north to the southern border of the U.S. who plan to seek asylum once they arrived. It applies to any migrant that enters the country illegally.

Border security has already been tightened, with 7,000 military troops being sent to secure the southern border and "harden" points of entry.

"The entry of large numbers of aliens into the United States unlawfully between ports of entry on the southern border is contrary to the national interest," Trump said. "Our law has long recognized that aliens who seek to lawfully enter the United States must do so at ports of entry."

The largest of the caravans is reported to be around 5,000 people, with other ones following suit in smaller sizes.

Beginning in Honduras, it reached a peak of 7,000 people as many from other Central American nations joined the 1,553-mile (2,500-kilometer) journey to reach the U.S. by foot.

The caravan mostly consists of Hondurans who are fleeing violence and poverty in their home country.

While any migrants that cross into the U.S. illegally will not be granted asylum, Trump said they would be allowed certain protections but did not explain what those were.