SILVER SPRING, Maryland — The Biden administration has announced a proposed rule that would restrict asylum eligibility to those who have previously applied for asylum in a country through which they traveled to reach the U.S., with limited exceptions.
“In continuing with this rule, the Biden administration is betraying its own commitment to uphold asylum, as well as violating the principles of U.S. law and Catholic social teaching with respect to migration,” said Anna Gallagher, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., or CLINIC.
The proposed rule is a version of an “asylum ban” which was first issued by the Trump administration, and which was subsequently struck down by the courts as unlawful.
“The previous asylum transit ban was reprehensible and unacceptable, and this version is as well,” Gallagher continued. “The right to seek asylum through a full and fair process is a bedrock principle of international and domestic law. These new restrictions undermine that right and will have inhumane and horrific consequences for our immigrant brothers and sisters.”
“The countries that migrants most commonly pass through to reach the U.S. lack the full and fair asylum procedures necessary to provide protection to those facing persecution,” said Karen Sullivan, CLINIC's director of advocacy. “If this rule goes into effect, many asylum seekers will have nowhere to turn.”
The Biden administration has named several exceptions to its presumption of ineligibility for asylum and laid out a convoluted process through which migrants can still request asylum, including through using the highly criticized CBP One app to request an asylum appointment.
“The hoops that asylum seekers have to jump through to request U.S. asylum under this new rule are simply too high and too narrow,” continued Sullivan. “The new processes are most restrictive for asylum seekers already facing the highest barriers — those who arrive at the border with nothing, those who are Black, brown and Indigenous. Highly deserving asylum seekers will not be able to exercise their right to apply for asylum under these restrictions.”
“In this season of Lent, begun this week, Catholics repent for ways we have failed to love our neighbor,” said Anna Gallagher. “This new rule represents a collective failure to hear the cries of those begging for our protection.”