The U.S. government said Thursday that immigrants who enter the country illegally would be banned from applying for asylum.
Two senior government officials told a conference call that all people who seek asylum from the United States should enter at a port of entry, citing national security concerns.
The new rule would bar illegal immigrants "from eligibility for asylum, and thereby channel inadmissible aliens to ports of entry, where they would be processed in a controlled, orderly, and lawful manner," an unnamed official told the conference.
The move is widely perceived as a measure targeting a caravan of immigrants from Central American countries moving toward the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. President Donald Trump has categorized the caravan as an "invasion" and has ordered the U.S. Department of Defense to deploy active-duty troops to the border in assistance to border security forces.