Proposed new rules will gut the asylum process, closing a path to protection from violence and death

SILVER SPRING, Maryland — Proposed new regulations will eviscerate the American asylum process, making it nearly impossible for asylum seekers to succeed in receiving protection in the United States from dangers in their home countries, said Anna Gallagher, executive director of CLINIC. 

“The proposed rule violates U.S. and international human rights law, effectively ending asylum,” said Gallagher. “It targets and casts aside some of the most vulnerable people in the world, who need and deserve safety and to be treated with human dignity. The administration’s actions represent some of the most egregious human rights violations in our nation’s immigration history.”

The proposed rule from the Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office for Immigration Review posted June 15 would, among other changes:

  • Allow immigration judges to summarily deny applications before the applicant even has a hearing;
  • Essentially end asylum for those fleeing violence from intimate partners and family members, gangs and others who don’t fit the definition of “state” actors;
  • Raise the legal standard for passing a “credible fear” interview, which serves as the basis for whether an asylum seeker is allowed into the United States to pursue a protection-based claim; and
  • Allow denial of asylum for discretionary factors, such as entering the United States between ports of entry or transiting through a third country.

The proposed rule changes were announced with just a 30-day period for comment. Federal rule changes — particularly those involving such a sweeping revision of long-standing policies — typically provide a 60-day window for comment. The fast-track for these changes means there is little time for immigration legal experts to analyze and comment on the 63-page regulation language, which affects nearly every aspect of asylum law. 

CLINIC’s collection of immigration stories includes many recent examples of how changes in asylum policies raise the risks for people who flee to the United States because their lives are in danger. Some examples include: "Already vulnerable migrants in Juarez endangered by COVID-19 pandemic" and "Out of sight, out of mind: Six stories of asylum seekers and migrants under MPP mind."

CLINIC will provide information on how the general public or legal experts may comment on the proposed rules on our website in the next few days.