President Donald Trump is proposing charging asylum-seekers a fee to process their applications as he continues to crack down on the surge of migrants crossing into the U.S.
As part of the memo, Trump is giving officials 90 days to come up with new regulations to ensure that applications are adjudicated within 180 days of filing, except under exceptional circumstances.
Trump also ordered officials to introduce regulations that would disqualify asylum seekers who entered the country illegally from obtaining work permits while their claims are pending. "We've seen it over and over again, from turning away asylum-seekers at ports of entry, to trying to make those who enter between ports of entry ineligible for asylum, and most recently until now, sending asylum-seekers back to Mexico to wait for their court hearings", she says.
This includes requiring asylum-seekers to pay a fee before their application can be considered.
Trump's memo comes the same day as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced they'd be shifting its resources to deal with the influx of "fake families" arriving on the U.S-Mexico border.
One of the boldest proposals by the Trump administration has been to tap a little-used clause in immigration law to send hundreds of asylum seekers back to often risky border towns in Mexico to wait months - or potentially years - for their cases to be resolved in US courts.
"People should be allowed to exercise those rights when seeking to seek asylum", he said.
Also directs officials to revoke the work permits of immigrants who receive final deportation orders...
The moves are the latest effort by the Trump administration to stem a growing number of migrants crossing the US southern border, many of whom then seek asylum in the United States. USA immigration courts are notoriously backlogged, and it's not clear whether the proposed changes would also provide additional resources as they aim to speed up the courts' work.
Trump derided the current immigration laws as "weak, ineffective and unsafe", but he has made little effort to work with Congress to change them. The officials still need to draft the proposed rules, have them approved by the White House, and go through a number of time-intensive regulatory procedures for the changes to take effect. In March, the monthly number of people apprehended and deemed inadmissable at the U.S. -Mexico border surged to more than 100,000, the highest level in more than a decade.
Local Mexican officials say their towns already are overwhelmed with migrants who have nowhere to live and few job prospects, while immigration advocates say those who are stuck in Mexico often have trouble finding lawyers and receiving proper notice for their US hearings.