The Latest: US begins tough new policy on asylum seekers

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FILE – In this April 29, 2019 file photo, Cuban migrants are escorted by Mexican immigration officials in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, as they cross the Paso del Norte International bridge to be processed as asylum seekers on the U.S. side of the border. Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 that Mexico’s government doesn’t agree with an “astonishing” U.S. Supreme Court order that would block migrants from countries other than Mexico and Canada from applying for asylum at U.S. borders. (AP Photo/Christian Torres, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on U.S. denial of asylum claims from Central Americans (all times local):

8:50 p.m.

The Trump administration has begun enforcing radical new restrictions on who qualifies for asylum as tens of thousands of migrants wait on the Mexican border, seeking refuge.

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

The rule will fall most heavily on Central Americans, mainly Hondurans and Guatemalans, because they account for most people arrested or stopped at the border.

But it also represents an enormous setback for other asylum seekers, including large numbers of Africans, Haitians and Cubans who try to enter the United States by way of the Mexican border.

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4:10 p.m.

Trump administration officials say they have started to implement a new policy that effectively denies asylum to most migrants at the Southern border, in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling on the policy.

A spokeswoman for the Homeland Security agency that conducts asylum interviews says the policy will be retroactive to July 16, when the initial rule was announced.

The new rules deny asylum to anyone coming to the U.S.-Mexico border who has not already sought the protection first in another country.

Advocates had sued and the policy was on hold, but the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday it could be implemented while the challenge is heard.

Most asylum seekers pass an initial screening called a “credible fear” interview. Under the new policy, they would fail the test unless they sought asylum in at least one country they traveled through and were denied

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3 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s clearing of the way for the Trump administration to deny nearly all asylum claims from Central Americans is being denounced by immigration advocates as a “death sentence” for migrants trying to escape poverty and violence.

The new policy would deny asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the US without first seeking asylum there.

Migrants who make their way to the U.S. overland from places like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador would be largely ineligible, along with asylum seekers from Africa, Asia and South America who try to get in by way of the U.S.-Mexican border.

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