Trump suggests charging US asylum seekers a fee

Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump is proposing to charge asylum seekers a fee to process their applications as he continues to try to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants seeking to cross into the United States.

"In March, more than 100,000 inadmissible aliens were encountered seeking entry into the United States", President Trump wrote in a memo to the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The restrictions do not take effect immediately.

USA officials will have 90 days to figure out how to implement the new rules.

Under U.S. law, asylum-seekers that have a credible fear of return can seek review in immigration courts.

"The provision to process cases in 180 days has been on the books for over two decades", said Ashley Tabaddor, president of the immigration judges' union.

In the letter, Trump says Barr and McAleenan should act on the new policies within 90 days.

In his memo, Mr Trump said the fee would not exceed the cost of processing the applications, but estimates have not yet been provided of what this may be. The current backlog of cases totals over 800,000, with an average wait time of nearly two years. The migrants have overwhelmed federal resources and complicated Trump's efforts to claim victory at the border as he runs for re-election next year.

Trump orders asylum-seekers to pay application...

Moreover, restricting access to work permits will discourage the abuse of the asylum process by migrants who simply want to take advantage of the superior economic opportunities that the USA offers, freeing up resources for processing those who have legitimate claims to access our generous asylum protections.

Some immigration activists have condemned the latest move by the Trump administration, including Michelle Brané, the director of migrant rights and justice at the Women's Refugee Commission.

In a presidential memorandum released on Monday night, Trump said "the security and humanitarian crisis" at the U.S. -Mexico border "undermines our nation's security and sovereignty". "They have labs nearby where they make drugs to sell into the US Mexico, one of the most unsafe country's in the world, must eradicate this problem now".

At the current pace of almost 100,000 migrants each month, officials estimate more than 1 million people will have tried to cross the border within a year.

President Trump's newly issued policies impose application fees for those seeking asylum and restricts their ability to work.

Above that paragraph, the authors, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Caitlin Dickerson, pointed out applicants "must show evidence of past persecution and establish a "well-founded" fear that they would face danger if they returned home".

Brané said the new restrictions would turn "asylum on its head".

Critics say that fees would put the process out of reach for many people.

Currently, asylum seekers are permitted to apply for employment authorization 150 days after submitting an asylum application. Third, he wants to limit "what other sorts of relief" asylum-seekers can pursue while their case is processed.

Issued Monday evening, the memo also calls on the Department of Homeland Security to reallocate resources and personnel to deal with asylum claims.

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