Donald Trump Press Conference

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Trump: U.S. Will Only Accept Asylum Seekers At Ports Of Entry

November 01, 2018 - 5:15 pm

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880) -- President Donald Trump on Thursday announced plans to deny asylum seekers who try to cross the border between points on entry.

“These illegal caravans will not be allowed into the United States and they should turn back now cause they’re wasting their time,” Trump said during his remarks at the White House. “They should apply to come into our country.”

In the days leading up to Tuesday's midterms, and as a caravan of migrants approaches the southern border, the president has ramped up his immigration rhetoric.

Trump on Wednesday also said he would send up to 15,000 troops to the border and threatened to end aid to some Central American countries.

In his lengthy speech Thursday, Trump said migrants are abusing the asylum system and making a “mockery” of immigration laws.

He said all asylum seekers must go to ports of entry in order to make a valid claim and announced that he would issue an executive order next week on immigration.

However, according to the Immigration and Nationality Act, migrants seeking asylum are allowed to do so at the border crossings, but also if they cross illegally.

Trump stressed that he wanted to set up “tent cities” to hold the migrants coming to the U.S., including asylum seekers.

CBS News legal analyst Thane Rosenbaum provided some insight to the speech, which he called “disappointing.”

“He said, initially, that he was going to be providing us with some new rules, a change to the asylum law,” Rosenbaum said. “And he provided no such change at all.”

Rosenbaum noted that Trump’s speech seemed more like a campaign speech and noted that the president said asylum seekers would still be welcomed, as long as they’re legitimate.  

In response to any migrant retaliation, the president said he will consider any rocks thrown at military members to be like “a fire arm,” and said they will be treated as such.

Furthermore, the president did not rule out the possibility of family separations and once again claimed that migrants had more incentive to come to the United States when they are assured they will not be separated from their children.

“Some people call it an invasion, it’s like an invasion,” Trump said of the several migrants caravans from Central America slowly winding north.

He reminded reporters that one group got into a violent confrontation with Mexican police at the border with Guatemala, throwing rocks.

In the days leading up to Tuesday’s midterms, Trump had ramped up his immigration rhetoric and said he intends to end birthright citizenships – a civil right granted by the 14th Amendment – via an executive order.

“And by the way this is not a constitutional amendment -- you do not need a constitutional amendment for birthright citizenship," he told reporters. “"I believe you can have a simple vote in Congress or it's even possible, in my opinion.”

(© WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)