, also instructed immigration judges and asylum officers to view illegal border-crossing as a "serious adverse factor" in deciding a case and to consider whether applicants could have escaped danger by relocating within their own countries. The decision notes, however, that this is not to say that Trump cannot end DACA at all, but that in this case, the administration "acted based on an erroneous view of what the law required".

Immigrant advocates denounced the move, saying it violated existing US law that allows people fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries to apply for asylum regardless of whether they enter illegally or not.

"US law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry", they said.


"We do this because of our obligations under worldwide law and who we are as a country, and what we understand our role to be in terms of protecting people fleeing persecution", added Jadwat, who said ACLU attorneys have been anticipating the measures and reviewing legal options.

Earlier efforts by the Trump administration to limit migration prompted a political and legal backlash. Nonetheless, it would still give those who cross illegally a way to get into the immigration court backlog and released from custody, especially those who are traveling with children. The new rule is nearly certain to be challenged in courts.

In 2017, the USA fielded more than 330,000 asylum claims, almost double the number two years earlier and surpassing Germany as highest in the world.

"The vast majority of aliens who enter illegally today come from the Northern Triangle countries", the regulation's text reads. "Any person in the United States must have access to the asylum process". Several smaller groups were trailing hundreds of kilometres to the south; officials estimated about 7,000 in all were in the country in the caravans.


Similar caravans have gathered regularly over the years and have generally dwindled by the time they reach the southern border.

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