Trump said last week that he planned to modify the asylum process to make it more hard for Central American migrants in the caravan to request protection. The new rule is nearly certain to be challenged in courts.
The issue of the country's loose asylum laws - where foreign nationals can claim that they fear for their lives in their native country and be released into the USA until their day in court - has sparked debate as a caravan of 7,000 to 10,000 Central Americans heads to the U.S.
A senior administration official said the White House hopes that by funneling asylum claimants to ports of entry, officials will be able to assess and adjudicate the claims more rapidly. It said the automatic denial of asylum claims to illegal border-crossers would continue for 90 days or until there is an agreement which "permits the United States to remove aliens to Mexico".
Trump's proclamation puts into practice regulations adopted by immigration officials on Thursday.
But with long queues of migrants at entry points already officials often have to tell those trying to enter the USA to return at a later time. Specifically, the administration is moving forward with a regulation that would withhold asylum protection from immigrants who cross the border illegally first.
US Army troops enter a compound where the military is erecting an encampment near the US-Mexico border crossing at Donna, Texas. Claims have spiked in recent years, and there is a backlog of more than 800,000 cases pending in immigration court, with a wait time that can be almost two years. Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, said Thursday they were clearly illegal.
He called a current caravan, which is still hundreds of miles from the United States border and dwindling in numbers, an "invasion" and said it would bring hardened criminals to U.S. streets. They said that the asylum - well, this is something that we know.
While there has been a recent spike in asylum claims, the number of illegal crossings at the southern border is a fraction of the totals seen from the late 1980s through the early 2000s.
According to a report by the rights group Washington Office on Latin America, requests for asylum from migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras increased by 25 per cent in the fiscal year 2017. Before the midterm elections, Trump mulled ending birthright citizenship - the policy that ensures all children born on usa soil are automatically citizens - by executive order.
It's unclear how many people en route to the U.S.in the current caravans will even make it to the border. Most have passed largely unnoticed.