U.S. to bar convicted immigrants from making asylum claims

Immigrants who have been convicted of entering the U.S. illegally, driving drunk, or committing acts of domestic violence would be barred from claiming asylum under a new proposed regulation announced on Wednesday.

The Trump administration’s proposal, which must now go through a public commentary period before it can be finalized, lists seven criminal offenses and areas as barring asylum, including some low-level criminal activities. They would be added to current federal restrictions already in place.

In addition, the new rule would remove a requirement for immigration judges to reconsider some denials of asylum claims.

The rule is the latest effort by the Trump administration to restrict asylum claims, which the president said grew out of hand earlier this year as a crush of migrants mostly from Central America made their way to the U.S. southwest border.

The administration said it believes that many migrants have attempted to game the system so they could spend years inside the United States despite being ineligible, in part due to a lower bar for initial screenings.

Most of the people who claim asylum say they are fleeing violence, poverty and corruption in their home countries.

Critics of the Trump administration say the president’s hardline policies are harming the United States’ reputation as a safe haven for persecuted people.

However, backers note that there is currently a backlog of about 1 million asylum claims and that immigration courts were continually inundated with new claims, hence the years-long wait time to adjudicate cases.

The Justice Department is also taking aim at so-called “sanctuary cities,” whose governments have forbidden local police from cooperating with federal immigration authorities to deport people in the country illegally.

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