Posted: 5:52 pm Thursday, November 1st, 2018
By Jamie Dupree
Keeping the issue of illegal immigration front and center in the final days of the 2018 mid-term elections, President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would issue an executive order next week, which would in part make changes in how illegal immigrants coming into the United States can ask for asylum, and how they would be dealt with by the U.S. government.
“My administration is finalizing a plan to end the rampant abuse of our asylum system,” the President said in a speech from the White House.
Mr. Trump also vowed to hold illegal immigrants and their children in tent cities, saying he ended the policy of ‘catch and release’ earlier this week – but there were few specifics on what exactly would be changed by his executive action on immigration.
“We will hold them,” he said of illegal immigrants, “for a long time if necessary.”
“We will not allow our generosity to be abused by those who would break our laws, defy our rules, violate our borders, break into our country illegally. We won’t allow it,” President Donald Trump says on illegal immigration https://t.co/zyq7sPjGwT pic.twitter.com/kZ8LFYJDz2
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 1, 2018
“This isn’t an innocent group of people,” the President said of the caravan. “It’s a large number of people that are tough.”
On the issue of asylum, the American Civil Liberties Union quickly said what the President was talking about does not sound like it would pass constitutional muster.
“If he plans at some point to prohibit people from applying for asylum between the ports of entry, that plan is illegal,” the ACLU said in a statement, as U.S. immigration law does not limit where an asylum application can be made.
With Election Day rapidly approaching – and the President spending much of the next five days on the campaign trail – it wasn’t immediately clear when he would sign a new executive order, and what subjects might be included.
Standing in front of a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt, the President said if U.S. troops came under attack from people throwing rocks or stones, he would consider that something which could draw a response from American soldiers.
The President did not explicitly say that soldiers would be allowed to fire – but that was the impression left from Mr. Trump’s answer.
Still, it’s unclear if troops would actually be on the border – current law and regulations keep soldiers in a support role, helping with infrastructure, transportation, and other roles – not a direct deployment along the border with Mexico.
I asked Trump if he envisions the military firing upon any immigrants at the border. He said if they throw rocks or stones, the military "will consider that a firearm" and will deal with it as such. pic.twitter.com/6Idp5hftcm
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) November 1, 2018
“These illegal caravans will not be allowed into the United States and they should turn back now,” the President said.