EL PASO, Texas - Immigration lawyers are taking a hard look at President Donald Trump's latest comments about asylum seekers.
Immigration lawyer Daniel Caudillo says contrary to what the president says, immigrants can ask for asylum anywhere they enter the U.S.
President Trump says immigrants crossing through Mexico and waiting to seek asylum in the U.S. are not legitimate asylum seekers. Trump says immigrants are rejecting settlement and job offers from the president of Mexico and waiting to claim asylum in the U.S.
Caudillo says immigrants who's goal is to settle in the U.S., where they have family, would be wise not to claim asylum in Mexico. Caudillo says once they do, they cannot seek asylum in the U.S.
"If you do settle in a third country then you do become disqualified to ask for asylum in the US," said Caudillo.
President Trump also announced immigrants will no longer be able to cross the border and seek asylum anywhere along the border, that if they do, they will be detained and held in tents.
He says immigrants will only be allowed to request asylum at the ports of entry. Caudillo says this would be a double edged sword.
Immigration courts in El Paso alone are backlogged with more than four thousand cases pending. Also, dozens of immigrants are waiting at ports of entry waiting to be processed.
"And the reason it's a double-edged sword is because at the port of entry, the CBP is saying they cannot process the applicants for asylum," Caudillo said.
As for immigrants held in tents, Caudillo says with the backlog of cases, immigration officials face the possibility of defaulting on the Flores Agreement, which states children cannot be held longer than 20 days.
With a judge in Sand Diego ruling families cannot be separated, children would have to kept with their parents.