News   /   Human Rights

Trump raps US asylum law as 'scam,' likens immigrants to UFC fighters

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting at The Venetian Las Vegas on April 6, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by AFP)

US President Donald Trump has denounced his country’s asylum program as a "scam" and accused Central American immigrants entering the United States from the southern border with Mexico of perpetrating crimes and stirring up violence.

Speaking at an event in Las Vegas on Saturday, Trump underscored the US immigration policy and derided asylum seekers by mockingly likening them to professional mixed martial artists.

"The asylum program is a scam," Trump said during his speech. "Some of the roughest people you've ever seen. People that look like they should be fighting for the UFC," referring to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a company that promotes martial arts combat matches.

The US president went on to claim that lawyers coached asylum seekers on what to say in order to be allowed entry into the country.

"They read a little page given by lawyers that are all over the place — you know lawyers, they tell them what to say. You look at this guy, you say, wow, 'that's a tough cookie'," Trump said.

The American head of state made the comments less than a week after he backed away from a threat to close the border with Mexico and cut all financial aid to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the three Central American countries that have been the major sources of the so-called "migrant caravans" since last October.

Trump said on Thursday that he would give Mexico a “one-year warning” before taking drastic measures to stop the mass flow of undocumented immigrants.

During a visit to a Border Patrol station in Southern California one day later, the US president warned that the country’s immigration system was overwhelmed by illegal immigrants and that the US had no more room for undocumented migrants.

“They system is full, can’t take you any more,” Trump said on Friday, adding that whether it is “illegal immigration” or asylum seekers, the answer is “I’m sorry, we’re full.”

The US Customs and Border Protection recently announced that more than 76,000 undocumented immigrants had crossed into the United States in February, which is an 11-year high.

Over the past year, a series of migrant caravans from Central American countries have journeyed north to seek asylum in the US, drawing the ire of the administration in Washington, which is opposed to such migration.

Trump has long promised to build a wall on the US border with Mexico to physically stop the inflow of the migrants but has failed to fulfill that pledge so far.

The US president had initially promised that Mexico would pay for his wall. When he failed to secure funding from Mexico, Trump turned to US Congress, which also refused. To bypass Congress, the US president declared a “national emergency” in February to corral funds allocated to other US organizations and funnel them to his wall project.

Mexico slammed for US’s border redeployment

Separately on Saturday, Trump blasted Mexico for forcing Washington to deploy 750 extra border security agents to deal with what he described as “the large scale surge of illegal immigrants” trying to enter the country.

The US president blamed Mexico for the decision in tweets and insisted that illegal crossings must be stopped at the Mexican border.

Trump has called the entry of the caravans an “invasion” by “thugs” and “criminals” and warned them to turn back or his administration would separate families at the border with Mexico, a policy condemned by Amnesty International and other rights groups as “disgraceful, mean-spirited and unlawful.”

Most of the migrants say they are fleeing the corruption of their US-backed governments as well as persecution, violence, and poverty in their home countries.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku