Trump wants to charge migrants fleeing war and poverty a fee to claim asylum in the US

  • In a presidential memorandum Monday, Donald Trump outlined a series of hardline new measures he wants to see imposed to stem undocumented 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 asylum seekers from getting jobs, and processing asylum claims within 180 days.
  • The move comes with the president desperate to fulfil his campaign promise to stem undocumented migration 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 on Monday.

The White House said the president issued the memorandum to acting homeland security secretary 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 immigrants would likely be charged to claim asylum.

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Trump holds bipartisan meeting on immigration reform
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), flanked by Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), rubs his eyes and listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US Senator Dianne Feinstein (C), D-California, speaks to US President Donald Trump during a meeting with bipartisan members of the Senate on immigration at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by U.S. Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ), flanked by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks as President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) speaks during a meeting about immigration with U.S. President Donald Trump and Republican and Democrat members of Congress in the Cabinet Room at the White House January 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. In addition to seeking bipartisan solutions to immigration reform, Trump advocated for the reintroduction of earmarks as a way to break the legislative stalemate in Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, listens while U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, right, speaks during a meeting with bipartisan members of Congress on immigration in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Trump�indicated he's willing to split contentious immigration proposals into two stages, providing protections for young immigrants known as dreamers and increasing border security first, leaving tougher negotiations on comprehensive legislation for later. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly listens as President Donald Trump conducts a meeting on immigration in the Cabinet Room at the White House January 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. In addition to seeking bipartisan solutions to immigration reform, Trump advocated for the reintroduction of earmarks as a way to break the legislative stalemate in Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: Republican and Democrat members of Congress, including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and others join President Donald Trump for a meeting on immigration in the Cabinet Room at the White House January 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. In addition to seeking bipartisan solutions to immigration reform, Trump advocated for the reintroduction of earmarks as a way to break the legislative stalemate in Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Other proposals include setting a time limit of 180 days to process all asylum applications, and barring undocumented migrants from working in the US.

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

The move comes with the Trump administration desperate to stem the number of Central Americans migrants crossing the US-Mexican 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 government authorities struggling to cope with the surge. 

One of Trump's central campaign promises in 2016 was to reduce undocumented migration, and in recent weeks the president has fired Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and a series of top officials in the department as he demands hardline solutions to the problem. 

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. 

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