Trump Unveils Strategy to Stop Future Caravans
Trump is currently engaged in a high-stakes fight with Democratic lawmakers over funding for a proposed wall along the U.S. southern border. The two sides remain largely where they were when the shutdown began shortly before Christmas with Democrats saying they will provide only $1.6 billion in border wall funding and President Donald Trump demanding $5.7 billion.
The president sought to break the 32-day logjam and stave off another missed paycheck for federal workers Saturday by offering Democrats the chance to extend the DACA program for an additional three years and the temporary protected status program. In exchange, the White House maintains its ask for $5.7 billion in funding, an increase in humanitarian aid and changes to the U.S. asylum law.
The latter provisions have not received center stage coverage but would seek to strike at the heart of the current migrant crisis at the U.S. southern border. Two administration sources close to the process described a dual phenomenon putting extreme stress on U.S. resources: the arrival of unaccompanied children seeking asylum, and the arrival of family units.
Both cases require the U.S. either to take custody and care of children while their asylum claims are adjudicated, or, in the case of family units, release them after a short period due to loopholes in U.S. law. The Trump administration sees these current policies as an effective open border policy with word trickling back to Central America that it is possible to come to the U.S. as long as one is claiming asylum and brings their children.
The Department of Homeland Security detained a record number of migrant family units last month.
To ease the strain on U.S. Customs and Border Protection, new language in legislation the administration is championing would require migrants to apply for asylum from their countries of origin.
The updated provision would ensure asylum seekers remain in their home countries while their cases are being adjudicated.