Trump wants to charge migrants fleeing violence a fee to claim asylum in the US

  • In a presidential memorandum Monday, President Donald Trump outlined a series of hardline new measures he wants to see imposed to stem illegal immigration to the US.
  • Among them is a plan for the imposition of "fees for asylum applications and work permit applications."
  • Other measures include barring some asylum seekers from getting jobs and requiring asylum claims to be processed within 180 days.
  • The move comes with the president desperate to fulfill his campaign promise to stem illegal immigration to the US, which in recent months has risen to an 11-year high.
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President Donald Trump has proposed the introduction of a fee for migrants seeking asylum in the US, outlining the policy in a memorandum released Monday.

The White House said the president issued the memorandum to the acting secretary of homeland security, Kevin McAleenan, to ensure that "legitimate asylum seekers can access asylum while more efficiently processing and removing illegal migrants who are not eligible and do not qualify."

Among the series of new measures the president lays out in the memorandum is the imposition of "fees for asylum applications and work permit applications." Monday's memorandum did not outline how much migrants might be charged to claim asylum.

Other proposals include setting a time limit of 180 days to process all asylum applications and barring migrants from working if they entered the US illegally.

Officials have 90 days to shape the directives into workable regulations.

US President Donald Trump at a rally in El Paso, Texas, on February 11.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The move comes with the Trump administration desperate to stem the number of Central American migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, where many claim asylum once they are detained by US authorities.

In recent months, the number crossing the border in March rose to an 11-year high, with many fleeing conflict and poverty in Central America and federal authorities struggling to cope with the surge.

One of Trump's central campaign promises in 2016 was to reduce illegal immigration, and the president fired Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and a series of top department officials in recent weeks while demanding hardline solutions.

The memorandum does not describe how courts are to speed up hearing asylum applications to meet the tight time limit demanded, with courts facing a backlog of 800,000 pending immigration cases.

The measure is likely to face legal opposition from refugee rights groups, with the US a signatory to the 1951 UN convention guaranteeing refugees "free access to courts of law" in territory where they seek to claim asylum.