“The vast majority of these applications eventually turn out to be non-meritorious,” a senior administration official said, asking not to be identified.
Less than 10 percent of cases result in asylum being granted, the government says.
Human rights campaigners and other critics of the Trump crackdown say that by restricting asylum seekers to border crossing points — which are already under enormous pressure — the government is effectively shutting the door on people who may truly be fleeing for their lives.
“The government cannot abdicate its responsibility towards migrants fleeing harm,” the New York Immigration Coalition advocacy group said.
But the administration official argued that “what we’re attempting to do is trying to funnel credible fear claims, or asylum claims, through the ports of entry where we are better resourced.”
That way, he said, courts will “handle those claims in an expeditious and efficient manner, so that those who do actually require an asylum protection get those protections.”
In 2018, border patrols registered more than 400,000 illegal border crossers, homeland security said. And in the last five years, the number of those requesting asylum has increased by 2,000 percent, it said.