Trump Wants to Charge Asylum Seekers to Apply, Cites 'Abuse' - NBC 7 San Diego
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President Donald Trump

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Trump Wants to Charge Asylum Seekers to Apply, Cites 'Abuse'

As part of the memo, Trump is giving officials 90 days to come up with new regulations to ensure that applications are adjudicated within 180 days of filing, except under exceptional circumstances

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    Trump Wants to Charge Asylum Seekers to Apply, Cites 'Abuse'
    Susan Walsh/AP
    In this April 29, 2019 photo, President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington.

    President Donald Trump is proposing charging asylum seekers a fee to process their applications as he continues to try to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants seeking to cross into the U.S.

    In a presidential memorandum signed Monday, Trump directed his attorney general and acting homeland security secretary to take additional measures to overhaul the asylum system, which he insists "is in crisis" and plagued by "rampant abuse."

    The changes are just the latest in a series of proposals from an administration that is struggling to cope with a surge of migrant families arriving at the southern border that has overwhelmed federal resources and complicated Trump's efforts to claim victory at the border as he runs for re-election. Most of those arriving say they are fleeing violence and poverty, and many request asylum under U.S. and international law.

    As part of the memo, Trump is giving officials 90 days to come up with new regulations to ensure that applications are adjudicated within 180 days of filing, except under exceptional circumstances.

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    Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “The Case for Reparations,” testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee during a hearing on whether the United States should consider compensation for the descendants of slaves. 

    He delivered a rebuttal to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's comments that "no one currently alive was responsible for that," which Coates called a "strange theory of governance." 

    "Well into this century the United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of civil war soldiers," he said. "We honor treaties that date back some 200 years despite no one being alive who signed those treaties. Many of us would love to be taxed for the things we are solely and individually responsible for. But we are American citizens and this bound to a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach."

    (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)

    And he is directing officials to begin charging a fee to process asylum and employment authorization applications, which do not currently require payment.

    The White House and Department of Homeland Security officials did not immediately respond to questions about how much applicants might be forced to pay, and it is unclear how many families fleeing poverty would be able to afford such a payment.

    The memo says the price would not exceed the cost of processing applications, but officials did not immediately provide an estimate for what that might be.

    Trump also wants to bar anyone who has entered or tried to enter the country illegally from receiving a provisional work permit and is calling on officials to immediately revoke work authorizations when people are denied asylum and ordered removed from the country.

    The Republican president also is calling on Homeland Security to reassign immigration officers and any other staff "to improve the integrity of adjudications of credible and reasonable fear claims, to strengthen the enforcement of the immigration laws, and to ensure compliance with the law by those aliens who have final orders of removal."

    Arrests along the southern border have skyrocketed in recent months, with border agents making more than 100,000 arrests or denials of entry in March, a 12-year high.

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    Watch actor Donald Glover, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and former NFL player Owens Burgess testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on whether the United States should consider compensation for the descendants of slaves.

     

    (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned in early April amid Trump's increasing frustration over how many Central American families were crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.