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

Honduran refugees USAA Honduran child and her mother, fleeing poverty and violence in their home country, waits along the border bridge after being denied entry from Mexico into the U.S. on June 25, 2018 in Brownsville, TexasSpencer Platt/Getty Images

  • 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.

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.

Donald Trump El Paso Rally border wall build that wall finish that wallUS President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in El Paso, Texas, on February 11, 2019, surrounded by signs that say 'Build the Wall' and 'Finish the Wall.'Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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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