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Venezuelan man seeking asylum in the United States with his daughter at the entrance to the Paso del Norte International Bridge in Ciudad Juárez, at Mexico's border with the U.S. in February. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration announced plans on Wednesday for sweeping changes to the U.S. asylum system.

Why it matters: Per Axios' Stef Kight, the proposed new rules would make it much harder for migrants to gain humanitarian protection once the borders that have been closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic reopen — assuming the proposal makes it through the regulatory process.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • This marks the toughest approach yet to U.S. immigration policy. It expands on a rule introduced by the Trump administration last July that forces migrants fleeing their home countries to apply for asylum in one of the first countries they pass through, or face ineligibility for asylum once they reach the southern border of the U.S.

Details: If implemented after a public comment period, the Rule on Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, proposed by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, would streamline the asylum application process but prevent most applicants from being entitled to a full court proceeding on their claims.

  • The proposal would enable lower-level asylum officers to rule if an application was "frivolous," therefore, denying the applicant protections in the U.S., a power that currently only resides with the DOJ's Board of Immigration Appeals and immigration judges.
  • Applicant claims of being under threat from terrorists, gangs or "rogue" government officials would be rejected.

Of note: Last month, the Trump administration expelled more than 20,000 people who crossed the border illegally using emergency powers provided by a CDC order, citing the public health threat presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Those individuals include children and asylum-seekers who are usually protected by U.S. law, Axios' Fadel Allassan notes.
  • Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., against the U.S. government over the policy on Tuesday night, on behalf of a 16-year-old boy from Honduras who's awaiting deportation from the United States.

What they're saying: The rule would streamline procedures, allowing for quicker decisions and "eliminate removal delays … that serve no purpose and eliminate the waste of adjudicatory resources currently expended in vain," Justice and Homeland Security officials said, per the Wall Street Journal.

  • Greg Chen, director of government relations for the advocacy group American Immigration Lawyers Association, told NBC News: "The proposed rule is literally the kitchen sink of asylum bans and will end any notion of asylum that still remains, recognizing that this administration has already issued so many previous bans.
"It will short circuit due process in countless ways to make it faster and easier to deport asylum seekers effectively denying them a fair day in court."

Go deeper

Supreme Court denies request to halt construction on Trump border wall

President Trump and the border wall in June. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote on Friday rejected a request from environmental groups to prevent construction of portions of the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Why it matters: The ruling lets the administration continue building despite pending appeals to a case on whether the administration can use Defense Department funding for border wall construction.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

1 dead after pickup truck hits Pride spectators in Florida

Police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

A driver in a pickup truck hit spectators at a Pride festival in Wilton Manors, Florida, killing a man and leaving another person hospitalized Saturday, authorities said.

Details: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told reporters police had "apprehended the driver" and that the vehicle missed a parade car carrying Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) "by inches."

Updated 6 hours ago - Sports

Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for COVID in Tokyo

The Uganda National boxing team's Catherine Nanziri (L) and others arrive for check-in at Entebbe international airport in Wakiso, Uganda on Friday, ahead of their departure to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Badru Katumba/AFP via Getty Images

A Uganda Olympic team member tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan late Saturday, officials said.

Why it matters: Japan's government has faced criticism for vowing to host the Tokyo Games next month as coronavirus cases rise. The Ugandan team is the second to arrive in Japan after the Australian women's softball players, and this is the first COVID-19 infection detected among the Olympic athletes, Al Jazeera notes.