Trump finalizes sweeping asylum restrictions in immigration crackdown

FILE PHOTO: Migrants and members of civil society hold pinatas in the image of U.S. President Donald Trump and a border patrol officer during a protest against stalled asylum claims and the building of the wall, at the border fence between Mexico and the U.S. in Tijuana, Mexico October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes

By Ted Hesson and Mimi Dwyer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration finalized a regulation on Thursday that greatly restricts access to asylum in the United States, part of an immigration crackdown.

The final rule cuts off asylum access for most migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border through a series of changes to eligibility criteria, according to experts and advocates. In addition, it directs immigration judges and asylum officers to deny broad types of asylum claims, such as those based on domestic abuse and gang violence, with some exceptions.

The new policy will almost certainly face legal challenges, which have sidelined other immigration initiatives put in place by President Donald Trump.

The latest restrictions are set to take effect on Jan. 11.

The asylum restrictions are part of a broader push to implement tougher immigration rules, a central focus of his years in office.

The new rule instructs asylum officers and judges to weigh negatively applications from migrants who crossed into the United States illegally, used fraudulent documents, or passed through other countries without seeking refuge elsewhere first.

(Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington and Mimi Dwyer in Los Angeles; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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