Faith groups and other immigrant supporters are bracing for an announcement from the White House that may further limit those seeking asylum in the US.
Trump administration officials are soon expected to announce the changes, which may eliminate multiple grounds under which people can be granted asylum, allow immigration judges to reject asylum applications without hearing from those seeking it and may not allow those who have travelled through more than one country on their way to the US to petition for asylum.
Specifics will be announced in a proposed rule to be published later today,15th June, which will be followed by a 30-day period for public comment.
Organisations such as Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. have already said it will oppose the changes and will ‘encourage all affiliates, partners and allies to submit a public comment in opposition’.
In an 11th June statement, the Washington-based American Immigration Council said ‘the proposed regulation would make it nearly impossible for most applicants to successfully claim humanitarian protection in the United States’.
‘If implemented, the proposed regulation would impose multiple new bans on asylum, unreasonably raise the bar for asylum screenings at the border, rewrite current asylum law to eliminate multiple grounds under which people are currently granted asylum, and allow immigration judges to effectively deny people their day in court by rejecting applications without a hearing,’ the statement said.
‘It would create new grounds for declaring asylum applications ‘frivolous,’ an extreme sanction that can ban someone from any other immigration relief,’ it said. ‘The regulation would also block virtually all who pass through more than one country on their way to the United States without pursuing relief in those countries, even if it’s on a layover.’
In a 10th June news release, the Justice Department said the proposed rule is overall consistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act and ‘would allow the Departments (of Justice and Homeland Security) to more effectively separate baseless claims from meritorious ones. This would better ensure groundless claims do not delay or divert resources from deserving claims’.
Beth Werlin, the council’s executive director, said if implemented, the regulations would mean “the end of the asylum system as we know it”.
Picture: A US Border Patrol agent is seen in Mission, Texas, on 1st July 2019. The Trump administration is scheduled to formally publish more stringent asylum rules today, 15th June 2020, and allow 30 days for public comment. (CNS photo/Loren Elliott, Reuters).