President Trump on Thursday
sought to keep the spotlight on his hardline immigration policies, saying he is “finalizing a plan” to deny asylum claims from people who enter the country illegally.
The White House had signaled the president would be announcing the legally questionable change to the nation’s asylum system during a Roosevelt Room event days before the midterm elections.
Instead, Trump announced no new policies, but suggested an official announcement on the asylum plan could come in an executive order “next week.”
“Under this plan, the illegal aliens will no longer get a free pass into the country by lodging meritless claims in seeking asylum,” the president said in a speech delivered before leaving the White House for a campaign rally in Missouri.
Trump said asylum applications now must be made at ports of entry only.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 says any immigrant in the U.S. may apply for asylum regardless of whether they entered through a legal port of entry. But Trump insisted his plan would be “totally legal.”
Any asylum-seekers who are caught crossing the border illegally will be held in tents instead of being released pending a legal hearing, he said.
“We are building massive numbers of tents and we will hold them in tents,” he said.
The president’s comments was aimed at a caravan of migrants from Central America traveling toward the U.S., which reportedly includes many who are fleeing poverty and violence and seeking asylum. Trump called the caravan an “invasion” that poses a major security threat.
“These illegal caravans will not be allowed into the United States and they should turn back now,” said Trump, who has previously suggested the caravan represents a security threat, partly because it likely includes “Middle Easterners.”
Trump called the provision allowing those seeking asylum to enter anywhere a “loophole” that is a magnet for illegal immigration.
“The endemic abuse of our asylum system makes a mockery of our immigration system,” he said.
Source: Trump keeps spotlight on immigration, but punts on asylum changes | TheHill