Exactly one week after announcing plans to overhaul the U.S. asylum process to punitively bar certain migrants from claiming asylum, President Donald Trump made it official on Thursday, altering the already sadistic rules by which asylum seekers can—and cannot—enter the U.S.
According to new restrictions announced by the government on Thursday, only those who enter the United States through official ports of entry may claim asylum moving forward. Undocumented immigrants claiming asylum from within the U.S. will be deemed ineligible, regardless of the validity of their claim.
“Those who enter the country between ports are knowingly and voluntarily breaking the law,” one government official told the Washington Post. “So while immigration laws afford people various forms of protection, there’s a violation of federal law in the manner these illegal aliens are entering the country.”
This, of course, is bullshit, and runs counter to the entire purpose of claiming asylum, which is that you can claim it regardless of where you are in the country.
Per the Government’s own Citizenship and Immigration Services website (emphasis mine):
To obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process you must be physically present in the United States. You may apply for asylum status regardless of how you arrived in the United States or your current immigration status.
In a grotesque reversal of the spirit behind the law, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker attempted to explain the new rule as ultimately being beneficial to those seeking 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,” the pair wrote in a joint statement to Reuters. “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.”
According to the Post, the new rule will be officially published on Friday, and will likely face immediate court challenges.