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Can Trump legally ban migrants from seeking asylum at the border?




Honduran migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the US, get on a truck, near Pijijiapan, southern Mexico on October 26, 2018.
Honduran migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the US, get on a truck, near Pijijiapan, southern Mexico on October 26, 2018.
GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images

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As the so-called migrant caravan of refugees from Central America progresses through Mexico, President Trump is reportedly looking at invoking his emergency powers to close off the border and deny asylum — but is the move legal?

According to the Washington Post, the administration is arguing that it has the authority to bar certain migrants from asylum under a Section of the  Immigration and Nationality Act. That’s the same section that was used to justify the travel ban, which faced various legal challenges. If Trump moves forward with this directive, it will likely face many legal challenges as well.

In the meantime, the administration is also getting ready to send up to 1,000 more troops to secure the border.

Today we talk to two legal scholars about the scope of presidential authority and whether this move would hold up to legal challenge.

Guests: 

Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation; former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Department of Justice in the George W Bush White House; he tweets @HvonSpakovsky

Harold Krent, professor of law and dean at Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology; author of the book, “Presidential Powers,” (NYU Press, 2005)