In October, news of a so-called “migrant caravan” swept across America. This caravan, made up of mostly women and children, began in Honduras and traveled northward, swelling to nearly 7,000 strong. Throughout the month, the Trump administration encouraged xenophobia and fear as the president made undue claims about the intentions and identities of those in the caravan. Further, Trump implied that criminals and even terrorists were hiding in the caravan, using its size to gain access to the United States (US).
As the caravan continued to make slow and steady progress through Mexico, Trump announced that he would deploy nearly 800 members of the military to the border. Shortly after, those counts were multiplied to over 5,000. Shockingly, the additional service members means that there will be more troops at the border than in Syria or Iraq.
By early November, the caravan remained large, at nearly four to five thousand people. The caravan stopped to rest for a few days in Mexico City. By late last week the migrants prepared to embark on the final portion of their journey. The caravan will travel to the US southern border despite setbacks and challenges faced on the road. Unfortunately, additional trials await asylum seekers in the US.
Trump Administration Makes Asylum Harder To Attain
In the US, the situation has escalated beyond expectation. On Thursday, the president announced that he would move to deny asylum to any person who illegally enters the United States. This shocking action alters enforcement of federal asylum law, which states that anyone may apply for asylum no matter their method of entering the US.
On Friday, Trump issued a proclamation elaborating on Thursday’s promise. Effective Saturday, November 10, 2018, the proclamation suspends asylum rights for any immigrants who enter the country illegally. Those apprehended in US territory without documentation will face expedited removal proceedings. In short, the intention of this is to “channel” migrants to existing ports of entry in an “orderly and controlled manner.”
The proclamation also states that the denial of asylum rights is not retroactive. Thus, those who have entered the country illegally but intend to request asylum may still do so. Additionally, the restrictions do not apply to unaccompanied asylum seekers under the age of 18. Read the entirety of the proclamation here.
According to the proclamation, any person arriving at an official port of entry may still apply for asylum. Thus, all those in the migrant caravan may still seek asylum legally. Yet, their ability to do so has become more difficult. Border patrol stations often have long lines and wait times that may span days, according to The New York Times. This is prohibitive for asylum seekers who fear for their lives. Further, no current plans have been announced by the administration to alleviate wait times or increase processing function at ports of entry.
Legality Of Trump’s Proclamation
As of Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit in federal court, suing the Trump administration over this new proclamation. According the ACLU, the new regulations are against the law and the organization hopes to bar the administration from enforcing this policy until a court ruling can be made. Thus, an injunction would likely delay enforcement by months, if not a year.
Though it’s certain other advocacy groups will also challenge the legality of Trump’s proclamation in court, recent legal precedent exists. The New York Times reports that the president has sweeping powers via the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), allowing Trump to block any immigrants “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” It was this power that Trump utilized during his so-called “Muslim Ban,” which was upheld recently by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roberts, when upholding the ban, stated that the INA “exudes deference to the president in every clause.”
Davis & Associates is monitoring the progression of the migrant caravan as well as the government’s policies towards asylum seekers.
Contact An Expert Immigration Attorney
Current immigration policy in the United States can leave immigrants confused and worried about the future. If Trump’s attacks on asylum seekers affect you or your family, you are not alone. At this time, it is critical that you contact an expert immigration attorney. There’s no doubt that a lawyer specializing in immigration law will protect your rights and fight for your interests. Contact the attorneys at Davis & Associates today – your initial consultation is free.
 Shear, Michael D., and Gibbons-Neff, Thomas. (2018, October 29). Trump Sending 5,200 Troops to the Border in an Election-Season Response to Migrants. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/29/us/politics/border-security-troops-trump.html
 Axelrod, Tal. (2018, November 9). Migrant Caravan to Leave Mexico City for US Border. The Hill. Retrieved from https://thehill.com/latino/415875-migrant-caravan-to-leave-mexico-city-for-us-border
 Shear, Michael D. (2018, November 8). Trump Claims New Power to Bar Asylum for Immigrants Who Arrive Illegally. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/08/us/politics/trump-asylum-seekers-executive-order.html
 Axelrod, Tal. (2018, November 9).
 Shear, Michael D. (2018, November 8).
 Shear, Michael D. (2018, November 8).