President Donald Trump used his executive power to issue a warning to foreigners who seek to illegally cross the border: if you try to enter this country outside designated entry points, you’ll be ineligible for asylum.
Although federal law allows illegal aliens on U.S. soil to petition for asylum, the president is within his executive authority to enact the new rule on national interest grounds.
Even if foreigners enter legally, however, asylum isn’t guaranteed.
The president’s intent is to block people in the so-called caravan from making bogus asylum claims. An excerpt from the U.S. Department of Justice press release (emphasis added):
The Acting Attorney General and the Secretary issued the following joint statement:
“Consistent with our immigration laws, the President has the broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens into the United States if he determines it to be in the national interest to do so. Today’s rule applies this important principle to aliens who violate such a suspension or restriction regarding the southern border imposed by the President by invoking an express authority provided by Congress to restrict eligibility for asylum. Our asylum system is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims from aliens who place a tremendous burden on our resources, preventing us from being able to expeditiously grant asylum to those who truly deserve it. Today, we are using the authority granted to us by Congress to bar aliens who violate a Presidential suspension of entry or other restriction from asylum eligibility.”
Asylum is a discretionary form of relief granted by the Executive Branch on a discretionary basis to those fleeing persecution on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The rule does not render such aliens ineligible for withholding of removal under the INA or protection from removal under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.