Immigration rights advocates reacted swiftly to the proposed asylum changes Thursday.
Central American migrants, part of a caravan traveling to the US-Mexico border, walk on a road near Isla municipality, Veracruz, Mexico, Nov. 3, 2018.
The 9th Circuit concluded that the Department of Homeland Security was wrong to assert that DACA is illegal, writing that the program is "a permissible exercise of executive discretion", and therefore those who have sought to challenge the administration's move to rescind it "are likely to succeed".
Thanks to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asylum rules were reformed to prevent migrants from receiving asylum by claiming they are fleeing violence, gangs, or domestic abuse.
The regulations released, in conjunction with an order expected to be signed by President Donald Trump, would effectively ban migrants who cross the United States border with Mexico illegally from qualifying for asylum. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", the ACLU said.
"The vast majority of these applications eventually turn out to be non-meritorious", a senior administration official said, asking not to be identified.
When asked whether the goal of funneling people to the ports of entry was aimed at reducing the number of people who claim asylum, given the slow process and legal backlog, a senior official said "the intention is to be able to more quickly arrive at a determination for those who have legit claims" adding that they are working on "staffing models to ensure that we can handle the claims we will be seeing".
The busy ports of entry already had long lines and waits, forcing immigration officials to tell some migrants to come back to make their claims. "An alien simply crosses the border illegally, finds a border patrol agent, and using well-coached language by lawyers and others that stand there and try to get fees or whatever they can get".
The announcement was the latest push to enforce Trump's hard-line stance on immigration through regulatory changes and presidential orders, bypassing Congress.
"US law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry", said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project.
Administration officials argue the asylum system is abused by people who are not seeking security in the USA but are instead searching for economic opportunity or trying to reunite with family members.
During the election, Trump put immigration at the top of voters' minds, seeking to sow fear over a caravan of Central American migrants and asylum seekers. A report by the left-leaning Washington Office on Latin America suggested that "the number of unaccompanied children and family members admitted to the ports of entry, mainly for protection requests, plummeted by 42 percent from May to June".