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NIJC Denounces Newly Published Asylum Regulation

CHICAGO (December 11, 2020) — Last month, the nation voted to end the Trump administration’s attacks on the U.S. immigration system. But the harm that this administration inflicts on immigrants, especially asylum seekers, continues daily, as the executive branch rushes to finalize regulations that will strip asylum seekers of the protection they need.

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) condemns the Trump administration’s newest final rule, cementing their torrent of attacks on the right to seek asylum. When the administration initially proposed this new rule, nearly 90,000 comments were submitted in overwhelming opposition to the rule. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claim to have taken all of those comments into account in the rule they finalized. 

“If enacted, this rule will send countless migrants to certain harm or death,” said NIJC Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy. “The asylum regulations put forth by the Trump administration violate our obligations under U.S. and international law. Amongst a barrage of hostile policies and regulations, these rules are the most comprehensive assault on the right to asylum yet seen.”

The asylum rule would strip due process rights from countless asylum seekers through a series of changes to eligibility criteria for those who have not applied for asylum prior to the effective date of the rule, including barring asylum for most individuals who traveled through another country before reaching the U.S. and those who entered the country irregularly. In addition, changes to these regulations will potentially disqualify thousands of Black and Brown families, adults, and children—including survivors of domestic abuse, LGBTQ individuals, and survivors of gang violence—from gaining the protection they deserve.

NIJC calls on the incoming Biden administration to immediately rescind this rule, along with other regulations the Trump administration has used to dismantle the U.S. asylum system.