The Trump administration is considering a travel ban-like executive action that would block certain asylum seekers at the Mexican border, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.
The proposal is not yet finalized and may ultimately be discarded, sources familiar with the discussions told the Chronicle. Sources spoke on the condition of anonymity to the Chronicle because the plan is in formative stages. The New York Times and Politico later confirmed the thrust of the report Thursday.
“The situation remains fluid and many options to deal with the caravan remain on the table,” a Department of Homeland Security source told CNN.
If approved by the President, the order would be a dramatic escalation of enforcement at the southern border, as a caravan of migrants from Central America is moving through Mexico headed toward the United States.
Earlier Thursday, CNN reported Defense Secretary James Mattis is expected to sign deployment orders that could send 800 or more troops to the southern border to help Border Patrol authorities.
“The administration is considering a wide range of administrative, legal and legislative options to address the Democrat-created crisis of mass illegal immigration,” a White House official told the Chronicle. “No decisions have been made at this time. Nor will we forecast to smugglers or caravans what precise strategies will or will not be deployed.”
The administration is quickly working to draft the possible executive order, the Chronicle reports, and the potential plan could use the same legal authority that Trump invoked last year when he imposed a ban on people from several Muslim majority countries entering the US. The paper cited a government source who has seen a working version of the plan and several sources who had the plan described to them.
The government official familiar with the working version of the plan told the Chronicle it would probably face legal challenges.
“This is the administration grasping at straws, pushing something through that is legally suspect,” the official told the Chronicle. “We’ve seen this before. We’ve seen this drives chaos. … And they don’t care.”
The Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department did not comment to the Chronicle.
CNN has asked the White House for comment on the report.