The Trump administration is considering several ideas to try to reduce the number of mostly Central American families seeking asylum at the southern border, according to The Associated Press. The White House also wants to increase its focus on immigration ahead of next year’s presidential election as a way to energize President Trump’s base, AP reported.

The ideas being considered include:

  • Increase pressure on countries with high numbers of citizens who overstay their visas in the United States. Visa overstays exceed illegal border crossings, according to the Center for Migration Studies.
  • Assign border patrol agents to conduct initial interviews with migrants rather than asylum officers. The interviews help determine whether migrants seeking asylum have a “credible fear” of returning to their homelands. The administration’s assumption is that border patrol agents will be less sympathetic than asylum officers.
  • Raise asylum standards and change the court system so the last people in are the first to have their cases adjudicated.
  • Target the remittance payments sent home by people living in the United States illegally.
  • Punish immigrants who are in the United States legally for using public benefits, such as food stamps.
  • Shut down the southern border.
  • Resume separating migrant children from their parents.

Meanwhile, Trump suggested Monday that his threat to send migrants to so-called sanctuary cities to exact revenge on his Democratic critics is taking effect. It’s unclear whether the Department of Homeland Security has taken any steps to implement the plan. It also remains unclear whether such a plan is even feasible.

Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Trump Administration Considering a Range of Proposals Targeting Legal, Illegal Immigration