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Trump says asylum seekers should have to pay a fee to apply

Published:Tuesday | April 30, 2019 | 2:19 PM
President Donald Trump speaks as he welcomes members of the Baylor women's basketball team, who are the 2019 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball National Champions, to the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is proposing charging asylum seekers a fee to process their applications as he continues to try to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants seeking to cross into the U.S.

In a presidential memorandum signed Monday, Trump directed his attorney general and acting homeland security secretary to take additional measures to overhaul the asylum system, which he insists “is in crisis” and plagued by “rampant abuse.”

The changes are just the latest in a series of proposals from an administration that is struggling to cope with a surge of migrant families arriving at the southern border that has overwhelmed federal resources and complicated Trump’s efforts to claim victory at the border as he runs for re-election.

Most of those arriving say they are fleeing violence and poverty, and many request asylum under U.S. and international law.

As part of the memo, Trump is giving officials 90 days to come up with new regulations to ensure that applications are adjudicated within 180 days of filing, except under exceptional circumstances.

And he is directing officials to begin charging a fee to process asylum and employment authorisation applications, which do not currently require payment.

The White House and Department of Homeland Security officials did not immediately respond to questions about how much applicants might be forced to pay, and it is unclear how many families fleeing poverty would be able to afford such a payment.

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