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WRC Condemns the Trump Administration’s Latest Regulatory Attack on Asylum

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice issued a proposed asylum rule that seeks to establish near-insurmountable technical and procedural hurdles for those seeking protection in the United States. If codified, the proposed rule would (among other changes):

  • Create a 15-day deadline for the filing of asylum applications and supporting evidence after an applicant’s initial hearing — a timeline that will be nearly impossible for those in detention and for asylum seekers who do not have counsel.
  • Encourage immigration judges — who are meant to be neutral arbiters — to submit their own evidence in cases over which they are presiding.
  • Create new barriers to the consideration of evidence submitted in courts by nongovernmental sources, including expert organizations like the Women’s Refugee Commission, unless an immigration judge deems it “probative and credible.”
  • Place serious limitations on an applicant’s ability to receive additional time to complete their case.

In response to this latest attack on asylum and the rule of law, Ursela Ojeda, policy advisor in the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, issued the following statement:

“This rule is the newest in a dizzying series of proposed regulatory changes aimed at dismantling the asylum system and stripping asylum applicants of their rights to due process. The Trump administration is manipulating every tool at its disposal to destroy what is left of the legal system that was established by Congress to protect those fleeing persecution.

“This year, amidst a global pandemic and near-total shutdown of the nation’s borders, the administration has issued one proposed regulation after another — each more breathtaking than the last — in their sweeping attempts to keep out every single person who might exercise their right to seek asylum. First, they focused on preventing anyone from entering the process, now they are focused on dismantling any fairness of the court process itself. It’s hard to imagine how anyone could successfully navigate the asylum system right now — and that’s the point.

“We call on the administration to rescind this preposterous new regulation, as well as the other asylum regulations proposed earlier this summer, and call on Congress to conduct oversight to whatever extent is needed and ensure that the Department of Justice is faithfully executing the laws it enacted.”