The White House has unveiled the crackdown on asylum seekers President Trump promised last week. A joint statement from Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen released Thursday announced an "Interim Final Rule" declaring that "aliens" who violate presidential suspensions or limitations on entry via the border with Mexico will be "rendered ineligible for asylum," the BBC reports. "Today, we are using the authority granted to us by Congress to bar aliens who violate a presidential suspension of entry or other restriction from asylum eligibility," the statement said. It said the system is "overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims."
The rule will take effect after President Trump issues a proclamation invoking extraordinary presidential national security powers, which he is expected to do Friday, the AP reports. The proclamation is expected to apply to people from several Central American nations. The rule gives Trump the power to deny asylum to migrants who cross the border illegally, though immigration advocacy groups say the rule itself is illegal, the New York Times reports. "The law is clear: People can apply for asylum whether or not they’re at a port of entry, and regardless of their immigration status," says Omar Jadwat director of the ACLU's Immigrants’ Rights Project. "The president doesn’t get to ignore that law, even if he dislikes it." (The Pentagon refused one of Trump's border requests.)