U.S. Rep Will Hurd (R-San Antonio), who represents a larger stretch of the U.S. Mexico border than any other member of Congress, says President Trump's new rules governing asylum requests make sense, but he and prominent Constitutional attorney Gerald Treece agree that the issue has to first go through Congress before it can be implemented, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"Our asylum laws are being taken advantage of," Hurd said. "Unfortunately, though, I think this executive order will be challenged in the courts, and won't be able to go into effect."
Treece, who teachers Constitutional law at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, agrees.
"The law does not give the President power to use discretion, unless discretion is provided for in the act that is approved by Congress," Treece said.
Trump's executive order states that if any refugee is seeking political asylum in the U.S. travels across another country where the factors the asylum seeker claims to be escaping are not present, like Mexico, that person cannot apply for asylum in the U.S.
Hurd says that makes sense to him.
"If you have the opportunity to apply for asylum in other places, including Mexico, which has a United Nations facility which processes asylum seekers, that questions your intent for coming to the United States."
Many Americans have long claimed that the nation's asylum laws are being abused by people who claim their human rights are being violated or their lives are in danger in other countries, to gain admission to the U.S. for economic reasons, or to obtain taxpayer funded social welfare benefits. In the recnet year, many people in the flood of refugees from Central America have arrived at the U.S. to claim asylum from factors they claim they are fleeding in Honduras or El Salvador which are not present in Mexico, which they have to pass through to reach the United States.
But Treece says, like many other steps taken by President Trump, this cannot be done by executive order.
"Everything he does is challenged immediately in the most independent of federal branches, which is the judiciary," he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union says it will file a lawsuit against this latest asylum order as early as today.