President Trump has signed an immigration order requiring asylum seekers to make their claim at their point of entry to the US, and barring illegal immigrants from requesting asylum.
“We need people in our country but they have to come in legally and they have to have merit,” Trump told reporters on Friday, before departing for Paris.
The order comes after weeks of Trump promising to crack down on illegal immigration, as a caravan of several thousand migrants makes its way toward the US’ southern border from Central America.
The directive is a temporary measure, and circumvents current laws that state anyone who applies for asylum in the US is eligible to have their case heard, no matter whether they arrived legally or illegally.
It forms one part of the president’s latest efforts to tighten border security and clamp down on immigration. Before the midterm elections, Trump mulled ending birthright citizenship – the policy that ensures all children born on US soil are automatically citizens – by executive order.
“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” Trump told Axios. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”
Any executive order ending birthright citizenship would likely provoke a Constitutional debate and be challenged in the Supreme Court, as birthright citizenship is currently guaranteed under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.
In addition to policy changes, Trump has also beefed up the physical security of the US’ 2,000-mile border with Mexico.