Trump admin to begin turning back all undocumented immigrants, asylum-seekers at borders: report

Trump admin to begin turning back all undocumented immigrants, asylum-seekers at borders: report
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The Trump administration is reportedly planning to turn back all asylum-seekers at both the northern and southern borders over concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

Four administration officials told The New York Times on Tuesday that the policy would apply to asylum-seekers and any other migrant seeking to cross the border illegally.

Ports of entry would remain open to American citizens, green card holders and some foreigners with proper documentation as well as commercial traffic, according to the report.

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Under the new policy, which the officials said would be announced within 48 hours, migrants crossing the border between the points of entry would be shuttled back to Mexico if they are crossing the southern border and would not be held for any amount of time in the U.S. 

The officials said the policy is intended to prevent a coronavirus outbreak inside detention facilities, which they feared could infect large numbers of Border Patrol agents, thus softening border defenses. 

It was not immediately clear if migrants seeking asylum or other protections at the ports of entry would be subject to the new policy.

The Department of Homeland Security did not confirm the policy, but said in a statement to The Hill that "President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license MORE is one hundred percent focused on protecting the American people from the Coronavirus and all options are on the table."

While President Trump has proposed several hard-line immigration policies throughout his tenure, the officials insisted that the new rule was solely crafted to combat the coronavirus.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

There have been 82 confirmed coronavirus cases in Mexico, compared with more than 500 in Canada and roughly 5,600 in the U.S., according to the Times’s tally.