Migrants who cross the southern US border illegally will no longer be eligible for asylum under a new rule, the Trump administration has said. The new measures would deny asylum to those who breach any presidential restriction on entry.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the changes on Thursday. A joint statement said presidents have the power to stop migration in the national interest. The rule will not apply retroactively. President Trump is expected to sign it shortly.
Rights groups have called the move “illegal.” Immigration was a major focus in Mr Trump’s mid-term election campaign. Before the mid-term elections, President Trump frequently denounced a caravan of thousands of Central Americans making their way north through Mexico.
He ordered troops to the border and declared the migrants to be an “invasion”. Without offering evidence, Mr Trump repeatedly suggested the caravan was politically motivated.