President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation to block asylum applications by people who try to enter the United States illegally.
Trump, who has made changing U.S. immigration law and tightening border security top goals in his administration, said the move was to address the problem of large numbers of migrants travelling through Mexico en route to the U.S.
“The rule will not apply to any migrant who enters the U.S. at a port of entry and will be in effect for 90 days,’’ the proclamation says.
It also ordered the secretary of state and other top cabinet members to recommend whether the rule should be extended beyond that period.
The proclamation said the arrival of thousands of migrants currently heading toward the U.S.-Mexico border in a number of caravans “will contribute to the overloading of our immigration and asylum system.’’
“About 2,000 “inadmissible aliens” enter each day at the U.S.-Mexico border,’’ the document says.
The administration on Thursday signalled that Trump would sign the proclamation before leaving for Paris to attend commemoration ceremonies marking 100 years since the end of World War I.
The document has been met by criticism from immigration rights groups, which say it clashes with the Immigration and Nationality Act that says anyone can apply for asylum whether or not at a designated port of arrival.
The American Immigration Council said Congress previously has determined that people are not required to ask for asylum at a port of entry.