Oppose Proposed Regulations That Aim to Decimate Asylum
The Trump Administration has been putting up barriers to immigration since he came into office. His latest racist, xenophobic attack is sweeping proposed changes aimed at dismantling our asylum laws and making it near impossible for asylum seekers to find safety in our country.
Some of the proposed rule changes include:
- Completely barring asylum on the basis of gender, which would invalidate protections for individuals seeking safety from gender-based violence
- Changing the very definition of “persecution” and “torture”
- Allowing judges to deny asylum applications without ever allowing the individual their day in court
- Redefining some of the core grounds for asylum claims, including membership in a “particular social group,” which could have a dire impact on LGBTQ individuals
- Denying asylum to people who entered the country unlawfully, or who submitted their asylum application more than a year after entering the country without exceptions
- Barring an individual who travels to the U.S. through two or more countries from asylum, who has ever failed to file taxes, or who has ever withdrawn a prior application for asylum.
For more: Read this detailed analysis of the regulations as compared to current law (by Anam Rahman, adjunct professor at Georgetown Law)
You can stop this regulation from becoming finalized. Submit your comment by July 15, 2020.
- This rule goes against international law and guidance on the treatment of refugees and how to adjudicate their claims for asylum.
- Asylum seekers should not be categorically banned from receiving asylum simply because of where they arrive. There should be a fair, case-by-case process for determining whether individuals qualify for asylum under the law.
- Due process is fundamental to the American system of justice. But under this rule, thousands of asylum seekers would be denied that most basic right to a fair day in court. The regulation would give immigration judges and asylum officers greater leeway to throw out requests for asylum as “frivolous,” and to deny applications without so much as a hearing. Because eligibility for asylum is a complicated legal question, the impact of this rule would fall most harshly on unrepresented asylum seekers, limiting asylum only to those with substantial financial means or lucky enough to obtain legal counsel.
- The proposed regulation would ban anyone who submits their applications more than a year after arriving in the US from obtaining asylum – with no exceptions. This explicitly violates provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act, passed by Congress.
- The rule would punish asylum seekers who fail to report even one penny of income to the IRS, even unintentionally, by barring them from obtaining asylum.
- Just because asylum seekers may have traveled through Mexico does not mean that they could have applied for asylum or been able to live safely there.
- Arbitrarily, an asylum seeker who flies to the United States with two or more layovers in different countries would be banned from asylum, while an asylum seeker who flies to the United States with just one layover in a different country would be eligible for asylum.
- Grounds for asylum – including those based on gender and so-called “private criminal acts” such as domestic and gang violence – would no longer be recognized as viable claims, despite generations of domestic and international law affirming that refugee status is available on those grounds. The administration may not disregard these standing precedents to achieve the illegitimate goal of dismantling the asylum system.
- his rule should not be put into effect without meaningful opportunity for the public to issue comments. 30 days is an insufficient time period to respond to this lengthy proposed rule-making.
See more from Tahirih Justice Center
Please feel free to use these sample templates, but please modify the sample comment to reflect your own thoughts and experiences so that it counts as a unique comment. A comment is “unique” when you have authored 1/3 of the content. You should include personal, relevant experience from your professional or personal life.
The below is taken from samples provided by Tahirih, HIAS, and Immigration Justice Campaign
I write to express my strong opposition to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) Joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal; Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Review; RIN 1615-AC42 / 1125-AA94 / EOIR Docket No. 18-0002/ A.G. Order No. 4714-2020.
The United States has a long history of protecting those escaping danger, yet the NPRM seeks to target the most vulnerable individuals fleeing to the U.S. in search of safety. The rule imposes new barriers at every stage of the process that will be impossible to meet for the vast majority of asylum applicants, resulting in scores more asylum seekers being returned to harm. I object to these proposed changes that would effectively dismantle the U.S. asylum system and make it nearly impossible for anyone to find safety in the United States. They would deny most asylum seekers due process in the adjudication of their claims, and they would completely bar the granting of asylum on the basis of gender. These proposed regulations would change the very definition of what “persecution” means. They would make getting asylum because of one’s political opinion or membership in a particular social group exponentially more difficult. These rules also deny asylum to anyone who traveled through two or more countries on their way to the United States or who has ever failed to file taxes. These rules represent a complete departure from our country’s commitment to human rights, and to the protection of refugees and asylum seekers seeking safety at our shores.
If these proposed rule changes are implemented, they would roll back decades of established legal precedent, and effectively eliminate the refugee protections that have long been accepted as a key part of our country’s values.
[Insert additional talking points (see above]]
[Insert your own opinions about why you support a strong U.S. asylum system and why you oppose the proposed changes. For example:
- Why does abolishing the U.S. asylum system violate your personal values?
- Does your family have its own history of persecution?
- Do you know someone who is an asylum seeker or was granted asylum?
- Have you seen firsthand how refugees contribute to your community?
- How do these rule changes go against our values as a nation?
This regulation attempts to completely dismantle nearly every aspect of our asylum laws and seeks to eliminate critical pathways to humanitarian relief that our laws were designed to protect. The rule strikes at the very heart of our historic commitment to providing safe haven to people fleeing persecution and calls into question our integrity as a country.
Asylum is a form of protection created for people who have left everything behind and need our help to get to safety. I oppose this new rule and stand with survivors of violence, unaccompanied children, families, and those who need protection. For these reasons, I urge you to rescind the Proposed Rule immediately and to, instead, advance policies that respect and uphold the legal right to seek asylum in this country for those in need of protection.
The comment period closes in:
How to Write Your Comment
The administration must read and respond to each unique comment, so it is important to personalize your comment. Here are some additional tips for your comment.
Submit your own, separate comment rather than "sign-on"
USCIS must count how many comments they receive. If 5 people or organizations sign onto one comment letter, that counts as 1 comment. If they each send in their own comments, that counts as 5 comments.
Don’t suggest corrective language
Our ultimate goal is to stop this rule from moving forward: we don’t want to suggest that the proposed rule can be “fixed.”
Don’t discuss programs that aren’t mentioned in the rule
Highlighting programs that are not specifically mentioned could give USCIS cover to include additional programs in the final rule, even though they aren’t in the notice of proposed rule-making.
Attach research and supporting documents
Attach research and supporting documents so they are clearly part of the record. Or, cite to links and specifically request that the agency read the linked material.
If you are an expert in an issue area, say so.
Explain why you have credibility, are uniquely qualified, your educational or professional background, and consider attaching your resume or CV.
Comments must be in English, so provide translations
We encourage non-English speakers to comment! Submit the original, along with an English translation, and a translator’s statement:
- I, [translator’s name], hereby declare that I am fluent in [language] and English and that this translation is a true, accurate and complete version of the original text to the best of my knowledge.
If possible, avoid anonymous comments.
You can submit on behalf of a friend or relative; and health workers and attorneys may submit comments on behalf of multiple clients (be sure to acknowledge your relationship to provide context and legitimacy).
How to Format your Comment
Lauren Alder Reid
Office of Policy, Executive Office for Immigration Review
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1800
Falls Church, VA 22041
Re: Docket ID RIN 615-AC42 / 1125-AA94 or EOIR Docket No. 18-0002 – Public Comment Opposing Proposed Changes to Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal; Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Review, FR Foc. 2020-12575 Filed 6/15/20; 85 FR 36264
Sample first paragraph
I am writing on behalf of the [organization] in response to the the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS, or the Department) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM or proposed rule) to express our strong opposition to the Proposed Changes to Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal; Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Review published in the Federal Register on June 15, 2020. The proposed rule would ______________________. [Organization] urges that the rule be withdrawn in its entirety.
[Add bullet points for the body of you comment plus your examples]
In conclusion, [your organization] opposes the proposed changes to the Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal; Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Review. If implemented this rule will ______________________. [Add additional concluding remarks on how rule would impact individuals your organization represents]. Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments on the proposed rule. Please do not hesitate to contact me at [INSERT Contact info] if you have any questions or need any further information.