President Donald Trump is proposing charging asylum seekers a fee to process their applications as he continues to try to crack down on the surge of migrants seeking to cross into the U.S.
In a presidential memorandum signed on Monday, Trump directed his attorney general and acting homeland security secretary to take additional measures to overhaul the asylum system, which he insists “is in crisis” and plagued by “rampant abuse.”
The president also wants to disqualify asylum seekers who enter the United States illegally from obtaining temporary work permits. Critics say that fees would put the process out of reach for many people.
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 vast majority of countries do not charge asylum application fees.
A former official at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Victoria Neilson, said that the majority of people coming to the United States seeking asylum are coming with little more than the shirts on their back.