Trump considering plan that could block asylum for thousands of Central American migrants: report

Trump considering plan that could block asylum for thousands of Central American migrants: report
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE is reportedly considering an immigration plan that could block thousands of Central American migrants seeking asylum from entering the U.S. at the southern border.

Administration officials and advocates briefed on the plan told Politico the draft proposal, which is circulating among Trump’s homeland security advisers, would bar migrants from seeking asylum if they had resided in a nation other than their home country before arriving to the U.S. The plan could make thousands of Central American migrants at the border who have trekked through Mexico ineligible for asylum. 

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Trump appeared to allude to the plan Thursday morning when he was departing the White House, saying he was “going to do something very dramatic on the border.” 

He said it would be his “biggest statement” on the border, adding he would not shutter the border but speak on the people crossing into the U.S. 

“This is a big league statement,” Trump said. “I'm not closing the border, I'm doing something else.” 

The White House did not immediately respond to inquiries about the plan from The Hill.

Immigration has emerged as one of the most animating issues for the Trump White House, with the administration floating a series of hard-line policies that seek to curtail both legal and illegal border crossings. Among them is the controversial “remain in Mexico” policy, which would force asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed. 

Immigration advocates familiar with the new policy expressed alarm at its ability to prevent asylum from virtually all Central American asylum-seekers.

“It’s unbelievably extreme to try to inhibit anyone who comes through another country in their quest for asylum,” Kerri Talbot, the federal advocacy director for Immigration Hub, an advocacy group for migrants, told Politico. “It basically means it would block all Central Americans from coming to the U.S.”

White House aides told Politico they believe they can make the changes through an administrative rule though are also seeking legislation to implement the policy, which could be less susceptible to a court challenge.

A person familiar with the situation said Ja’Ron Smith and Theodore Wold, two special assistants to the president for domestic policy, briefed Republican senators’ offices on the proposed legislation Wednesday at the Capitol.