The Trump administration ordered a key change in the immigration policies in relation to asylum seekers, and it will affect how migrants in the caravans heading to the USA could seek refugee status. Once triggered, it would give the government the power to deny asylum claims to illegal immigrants.
Those seeking political or other kinds of asylum - almost all of them coming from impoverished and violent crime-plagued countries of Central America - will be heard exclusively at the border crossings, administration officials told journalists.
The administration issued a new policy Thursday that would give President Trump power to block asylum claims from the migrant caravan and other illegal immigrants who jump the U.S. -Mexico border.
An ACLU spokesman tweeted: "FACT: US law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry".
"This interim regulation is not only inconsistent with the letter of the law, but flatly contradicts it", Frelick said.
US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation on Friday suspending the entry of migrants through the US southern border between ports of entry for 90 days. 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.
Some officials say the order will help immigration officials process asylum claims in a safer and more efficient manner. Since 2014, asylum claims at the border have increased fourfold, adding to a backlog of more than 750,000 pending cases in USA immigration courts.
Over time, the number of asylum claims has jumped markedly in recent years, an indication the administration says immigrants are tailoring their responses to claim asylum without merit.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which defends constitutional rights, said that the right to request asylum must be granted to anyone entering the country.
The "before" and "after" effect of this new rule is going to be stark.
Trump has long said those seeking asylum should come through legal ports of entry. 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. But many migrants are unaware of that guidance, and official border crossings have grown clogged.
A statement released by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker revealed the change in policy on Thursday.
It's unclear how many people en route to the US will even make it to the border.
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.