CLINIC Analysis: The Trump Administration Used the Administrative Appeals Process to Dramatically Alter Asylum Law

Last Updated

July 28, 2021

The Trump administration self-referred 16 cases — more than any other administration — to its attorneys general, or AGs, to render precedential decisions. This record volume is even more significant given that the Trump administration held office for only one term. Altogether, Trump’s AGs used the self-referral power nearly four times as often as any prior administration. Likewise, the Trump-era Board of Immigration Appeals increased the volume of precedential decisions on asylum issues by nearly 50 percent, with virtually all of those decisions negatively affecting the respondent and narrowing asylum law generally. In this article, CLINIC analyzes the outcomes of these decisions, demonstrating the radical departure from past practice by the Trump-era immigration appellate bodies.

This article is authored by Legal Intern Grant Chamness, former Legal Intern Allison Mandeville and Defending Vulnerable Populations Managing Attorney Victoria Neilson