President Donald Trump has ordered a massive overhaul of U.S. asylum policies. The changes were outlined in a White House memo released overnight. Unsurprisingly, the new policies are meant to make it more difficult for immigrants to claim asylum in the United States.
Among other things, Trump’s new policies would force immigrants to pay fees if they seek asylum. It’s unclear how high the fees will be but many immigrants are typically willing to pay thousands of dollars to smugglers to get them to the border. The fees might have to be substantial in order to deter immigrants.
Besides fees, the American court system would have to adjudicate asylum claims in just 180 days. Currently, it is taking the courts years to get through the massive backlog of claims. Further, anyone who crosses the border illegally will be banned from obtaining a work permit.
Immigration has become a hot topic as the number of migrants has surged in recent months. Illegal border crossings have reached their highest point in years, fueled by criminal activity, droughts, and other factors across Latin America. President Trump has begun to use the issue to rally his supporters ahead of the 2020 Presidential race.
On Twitter, the President argued: “If the Democrats don’t give us the votes to change our weak, ineffective and dangerous Immigration Laws, we must fight hard for these votes in the 2020 Election!”
It’s unclear if President Trump’s asylum policies will be implemented. Most likely, Democrats and civil rights groups will turn to the courts to block the measures. The courts will then determine if the president has the authority to unilaterally install such policies.