WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration will adopt an executive order next week to require asylum seekers to apply at legal ports of entry.
While current law allows asylum seekers to make their pleas if they are in the U.S. illegally, Trump insisted that the plan would be legal, but did not provide additional details.
Trump announced the change in an afternoon speech from the White House’s Roosevelt Room that he cast as an address to the nation.
However, with the midterms on the horizon, his remarks frequently took on a political edge — including multiple swipes at Democrats.
“We can’t get any Democratic votes to change [immigration laws],” Trump said. “It’s only the Republicans who are in unison that they want to change them.”
Trump paid special focus to a migrant caravan that is heading toward the U.S.-Mexico border from Honduras in an attempt to apply for asylum.
The president denied that the caravan, which reports state is nearly 1,000 miles away, included legitimate asylum seekers since they did not accept asylum offers made by Mexico last week.
Trump touted a decision to send over 5,000 active-duty troops to the U.S. border in order to assist with border security operations. Troops began deploying on Monday.
Like he has many times before, Trump insisted that the deployments were necessary due to what he has described, often without evidence, as the dangerous nature of the caravan.
On Thursday, Trump pointed to an incident late last month in which the caravan clashed with police while pushing through the Guatemala-Mexico border.
Some of the migrants threw rocks, which Trump said would not be tolerated by troops along the border.
Although the troops are legally only serving in an assistance role, Trump said that if migrants throw rocks, the military should “consider it a rifle.”