How The Trump Administration Is About To End Asylum

by Ramon Valdez — Posted in blog on July 13, 2020

Over the past few years, the Trump administration has launched an unprecedented attack on the rights of asylum seekers and their ability to seek refuge in the United States under international treaties and well-established U.S. law. Thousands of asylum-eligible families are marooned in dangerous and unsanitary conditions under the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Immigration judges across the country are being pressured to rapidly deny asylum protections — regardless of facts or merit.

In its latest act of hatred against refugees and asylum seekers, the Trump administration has announced 161 pages of proposed regulations that will gut protections for people fleeing life-threatening persecution. The new regulations create new barriers in the asylum process, introduce new ways to drive immigration judges to deny asylum, and make current statutory requirements completely unrecognizable.

Among many dangerous changes, the new rules will:

  • Eliminate asylum protections for those fleeing gender-based violence (e.g., those fleeing sexual and domestic violence and LBGTQ+ individuals fleeing persecution), ignoring decades of well-established case law. 
  • Intentionally deny protection to survivors of torture and individuals at risk of torture through a baseless re-interpretation of the UN Convention Against Torture.
  • Restrict protections for victims of political persecution in cases where one of the persecutors is a nongovernmental organization (e.g., terrorist groups, gangs, etc). 
  • Deny asylum to anyone who has passed through two countries before arriving in the United States or stayed in another country for at least 14 days (despite a federal appeals court ruling in our federal lawsuit, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v Barr, which struck down a similar policy). 
  • Add more unreasonable hurdles to the“credible fear interview” process at the border. 

This rule will be a death sentence for thousands of asylum seekers. 

How To Fight Back! 

  1.  Submit a comment before July 15th!! The Trump administration will be required to consider and respond to every individual comment that is submitted. The more unique comments they receive, the longer it will take them to finalize the proposed rules. Your comment doesn’t have to be long and you don’t have to be an asylum law expert!  Tell the Trump administration why we must continue protecting refugees.
  2. Send a handwritten letter to the administration about why the U.S. must protect asylum seekers. Use your own experiences, perspectives, values, and research. You can comment online AND send a letter! 
    • Your letter must reference “DHS/EOIR; RIN 1125-AA94; EOIR Docket No. 18-0002”;
    • The letter must be postmarked by July 15, 2020; 
    • Send your letter to:
      Lauren Alder Reid, Assistant Director
      Office of Policy
      Executive Office for Immigration Review
      5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1800,
      Falls Church, VA 22041 
  3. Help spread the word about this proposed rule and the fight to halt its implementation. 
  4. Donate to support Innovation Law Lab’s work providing legal support to unrepresented asylum seekers around the country, in detention centers, and along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

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As a nonprofit organization, Innovation Law Lab relies on generous contributions from supporters like you to continue our important work of upholding the rights of immigrants and refugees. Stand with immigrants and refugees making a contribution today