AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA: Proposed Rule Would Deny Asylum Seekers Fundamental Human Rights

6/12/20 AILA Doc. No. 20061204. Asylum
George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, June 15, 2020, the Trump Administration will publish a proposed rule seeking to fundamentally rewrite U.S. asylum laws and policies, and removing almost any chance for those fleeing persecution to gain protection. The advance copy of the 161-page rule was made available on June 10. AILA has identified some changes of extreme concern, urging the public to comment on the proposed rule during the 30-day window.

AILA President Marketa Lindt stated, “This move by the administration to more severely restrict asylum protections for those fleeing persecution and torture is part of a systematic dismantling of America’s long-standing commitment to being a place of refuge. This proposed rule would burn an enormous hole through the longstanding framework of American asylum law which has already been undermined and diminished under the current Administration. Among other things, the rule would all but ban asylum for those fleeing domestic violence and gang persecution despite courts having found that such persecution meets the criteria for asylum. Additionally, Immigration Judges would be granted greater authority to end an asylum application without a hearing at all. We already know that some judges deny upwards of 90% of asylum claims where the respondent is standing before them, testifying to their persecution. This rule will result in even more people who are fleeing for their lives being denied protection and forcibly returned to life threatening danger.”

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson added, “This rule would not leave us with an asylum process in anything but name, gutting any notion of asylum that still remains. These changes will result in legitimate asylum seekers who are fleeing racial, religious, political and gender persecution being forcibly returned to face assault, torture, and death. It is clear that the administration has weaponized the regulatory process in a way never seen before. We cannot stand by and watch the laws put in place by Congress be altered beyond recognition by the president. The U.S. government has the capacity to process the many asylum applicants we receive each year not only efficiently but also fairly and in a manner that is consistent with our laws and the Constitution. We must offer public comment, we must work with our allies and communities to ensure their voices are heard and taken into account, and we must commit to fight for our country’s values and get Congress and the courts on board with that fight too.”

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

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