“<em>We need people in our country but they have to come in legally and they have to have merit,”</em> Trump told reporters on Friday, before departing for Paris.
The order comes after weeks of Trump promising to crack down on illegal immigration, as a caravan of several thousand migrants makes its way toward the US’ southern border from Central America. The caravan is currently around 600 miles from the United States.
The directive is a temporary measure, and circumvents current laws that state anyone who applies for asylum in the US is eligible to have their case heard, no matter whether they arrived legally or illegally. As such, it is likely to be challenged in federal courts.
Those denied asylum under the new order will still be able to apply for ‘withholding of removal’ – a limited form of asylum that doesn’t allow for green cards or family members to join the applicant; or asylum under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. In both cases, the applicant has to demostrate a credible threat if they were to return home.