In a decision Thursday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was put into place by former President Barack Obama and allows some undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S.as children to be shielded from deportation for two years and receive work permits, can continue, BuzzFeed News reports. In both cases, the applicant has to demostrate a credible threat if they were to return home.
"What we are attempting to do is trying to funnel. asylum claims through the ports of entry where we are better resourced, have better capabilities and better manpower and staffing to actually handle those claims in an expeditious and efficient manner", a senior administration official told reporters in a news briefing Thursday, on condition of anonymity.
Asylum seekers turn themselves in to a US Border Patrol agent after crossing from Mexico into the United States.
In 2017, the US fielded more than 330,000 asylum claims, almost double the number two years earlier and surpassing Germany as highest in the world. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", he said.
A number of lower courts had originally deemed the measure unconstitutional.
Trump has long said those seeking asylum should come through legal ports of entry. Instead, thanks to the Democratic Party's insistence on open borders, a dysfunctional system was created where people who sneaked into the country and got caught already in the United States were allowed to retroactively claim they were asylum seekers. But many migrants are unaware of that guidance, and official border crossings have grown clogged.
The American Civil Liberties Union, a group that defends individual rights, declared the move "illegal".
"We do this because of our obligations under worldwide law and who we are as a country, and what we understand our role to be in terms of protecting people fleeing persecution", added Jadwat, who said ACLU attorneys have been anticipating the measures and reviewing legal options. Trump's recently departed attorney general Jeff Session announced a policy change at his Justice Department to deny survivors of domestic abuse and gang violence asylum claims, which could further curtail the success rate. About 4,800 migrants are sheltered in a sports complex in Mexico City, some 600 miles (965 kilometers) from the USA border.
The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit increases the likelihood that the fate of almost 700,000 "dreamers" will be settled by the Supreme Court.
An early draft of the proposal reviewed by The Washington Post asserted the president can use his authority under Section 212 (f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to declare certain migrants ineligible for asylum for national security grounds.
The new changes were likely to be met with legal challenges, too.