Trump's proposed fee on asylum seekers would burden the poor

Trump proposes an application fee for asylum-seekers

In a presidential memorandum addressed to Kevin McAleenan, acting secretary of homeland security, and Attorney General William Barr, Trump directed that there be a fee set for asylum seekers filing asylum cases and migrants applying for work permits.

The news release called out asylum-seekers who make "meritless claims" in order to enter the United States and "remain here indefinitely".

He's giving them 90 days to propose regulations so that, all asylum applications are adjudicated within 180 days, except for those representing exceptional circumstances.

These are the sort of common sense policies that protect American communities, but the mainstream media are already working overtime to distort the president's memo, portraying it as an unfair proposal that would "burden" the poor by instituting application fees and work-authorization restrictions for asylum-seekers. Finally, because asylum seekers in the United States, unlike criminals, do not have the right to a court-appointed attorney, unable to hire a lawyer, they will find themselves facing an immigration judge and a prosecuting trial attorney in an intimidating court environment where they don't know the rules and usually don't speak the language.

There is a backlog of more than 800,000 pending asylum cases in the immigration court system, amounting to an average wait time of almost two years. It was the latest move by top justice officials seeking to reshape legal precedent in the country's USA immigration courts.

"Our immigration and asylum system is in crisis as a outcome of the mass migration of aliens across our southern border", the memo declared.

They've fled violence-ridden homelands, often arriving at the USA border deep in debt, paying $7,000 or more to smugglers.

Others are sent back to border cities of Mexico to rely on shelter systems as they navigate monthly appointments with immigration courts in the USA, a strategy enforced under the "Remain in Mexico" policy. The current capacity of the US immigration system, however, can not meet the demand of individuals defending themselves against removal - both asylum seekers and other undocumented immigrants.

Some immigration activists have condemned the latest move by the Trump administration, including Michelle Brané, the director of migrant rights and justice at the Women's Refugee Commission.

The asylum fees should be for no more than the cost of adjudication, the memo says. National Public Radio reports that some legislators have claimed the move-which mandates new fees for asylum applications, among other changes-may be illegal. Apprehensions at the southern border have surged despite his administration's stricter immigration policies, and earlier this month he removed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other top immigration officials.

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. The administration has implemented a policy of "metering" how many applications can be processed at legal border crossings. But he has also emphasized the importance of aid to Central American countries - even though Trump cut State Department funding to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala this year.

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