US President Donald Trump signs proclamation suspending granting of asylum to migrants who cross the US-Mexico illegally, as a US-bound migrant caravan resting in Mexico resumes its trek.

US President Donald Trump used his emergency powers for the order, which critics said violates international law protecting asylum seekers.
US President Donald Trump used his emergency powers for the order, which critics said violates international law protecting asylum seekers. (Reuters)

The United States announced on Friday a policy of automatically rejecting asylum claims of people who cross the Mexican border illegally in a bid to deter Central American migrants and force Mexico to handle them.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at halting the flow of migrants seeking to cross into the United States without papers, most of them requesting asylum due to violence in their home countries.

"The continuing and threatened mass migration of aliens with no basis for admission into the United States through our southern border has precipitated a crisis and undermines the integrity of our borders," Trump said in the order.

Trump used his emergency powers for the order, which critics said violates international law protecting asylum seekers.

"US law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry. It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree," said Omar Jadwat of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Caravan to resume trip 

Meanwhile, the US-bound migrant caravan that has so thoroughly irked Trump has decided to resume its trek north after resting in Mexico City for nearly a week and failing to secure buses for the journey.

In a sports arena turned into a makeshift shelter, a vote was held on Thursday mainly among male travelers and the verdict was to keep going and leave at dawn on Friday.

TRT World's Ediz Tiyansan is traveling with them and says they are determined to continue their journey.

The group of some 5,500 people, most of them Hondurans, began arriving in the Mexican capital on Sunday.

They have been traveling since October 13, mainly on foot, and covered more than 1,500 km, but are still weeks away from the US border. Most of them are fleeing grinding poverty and violence from powerful street gangs.

A group of Central American migrants heading in a caravan to the US, walks at the metro in Mexico City, on their way to Queretaro state, on November 9, 2018.
A group of Central American migrants heading in a caravan to the US, walks at the metro in Mexico City, on their way to Queretaro state, on November 9, 2018. (AFP)

Demonstrations outside UNHCR office

The migrants have asked Mexican authorities to provide them with transport. On Thursday, some 200 of them demonstrated outside the local office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to press for 150 buses. 

On some stretches of the trip, some of the migrants have been riding on trucks. However, one person fell off and died when the group was in Chiapas state in the south. Since then, Mexican police accompanying the caravan have barred the travelers from hanging off the side of such trucks.

Two other caravans with about 2,000 people each are making their way through southern Mexico.

The border wall is seen in the background as US Army soldiers install concertina wire along the United States-Mexico border in Hidalgo, Texas, US, November 8, 2018. Picture taken on November 8, 2018.
The border wall is seen in the background as US Army soldiers install concertina wire along the United States-Mexico border in Hidalgo, Texas, US, November 8, 2018. Picture taken on November 8, 2018. (Reuters)

'National emergency'

Trump made immigration a central issue ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections, using it to fire up his largely white, conservative base. The vote was seen as a referendum on his presidency so far. 

In the end, Trump's Republicans kept their majority in the Senate but lost the House of Representatives to the Democrats.

Calling the caravan a "national emergency," Trump has threatened to deploy as many as 15,000 troops to the border with Mexico. Some 4,800 had been deployed as of Monday, the Pentagon said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies