Central American migrants wait to see if their number will be called to cross the border and apply for asylum in the United States, at the El Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. Dozens of immigrants lined up Friday at a major Tijuana border crossing waiting to learn how the Trump administration's radical new restrictions on who qualifies for asylum would affect the tens of thousands of migrants stuck on the Mexican border seeking refuge.(AP Photo/Emilio Espejel)

Trump official says asylum bar will drive down case backlog

September 13, 2019 - 1:30 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Trump administration immigration official is defending efforts to effectively end asylum for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ken Cuccinelli says the move is necessary to drive down a massive backlog of immigration cases.

Cuccinelli, the acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, spoke to The Associated Press on Friday, two days after the Supreme Court allowed sweeping regulations to take effect while litigation challenging the policy continues.

The new U.S. policy would effectively deny asylum to nearly all migrants arriving at the southern border who aren't from Mexico. It disallows anyone who passes through another country without first seeking and failing to obtain asylum there.