On September 23 the Trump administration proposed a cruel new rule that will gut due process and make it virtually impossible for asylum seekers to have their fair day in court.
This rule places the odds so strongly against an asylum seeker its tantamount to an absolute denial of right! This will have the effect of further turning our immigration courts’ function into deportation machines – rather than instruments of justice.
The Trump administration is required to consider and respond to every individualized comment submitted. The more unique comments they receive, the longer it will take them to finalize the rule and start using it to deny asylum cases and deport refugees.
We need everyone to speak out and submit a public comment opposing the rule by 11:59 pm ET on Friday, October 23.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
For nearly four years, the Trump administration has worked relentlessly to dismantle our asylum system. They’ve left no stone unturned – from shuttering the border, to distorting legal definitions and encouraging adjudicators to prejudge cases.
This latest rule will put the government’s thumb even more firmly on the scales of justice and deprive asylum seekers of any semblance of a fair immigration court hearing.
Among other harmful provisions, the rule will:
- Require most asylum seekers to file their application within 15 days of their first hearing, even if they are detained and don’t have a lawyer, are recovering from trauma, or do not understand English
- Require the immigration court to reject any application deemed incomplete, potentially denying life-saving protection for an error as minor as leaving blank, rather than writing “N/A” in, an irrelevant application box
- Create two standards for evidence, allowing immigration judges to reject evidence from non-U.S. government sources – even as the State Department comes under fire for omitting vital information about abuses perpetrated against women and LGBTQ people from its human rights reporting
- Allow judges to submit their own hand-picked evidence into the record, turning the supposedly neutral decision-maker into one more adversary that the asylum seeker must confront
How can an asylum seeker, with limited access and language barriers, as well as the trauma that brought them here in the first place be expected to perform accordingly?
It is critical that as many people as possible speak out against the proposed rule. If the administration is flooded with comments from our communities, it will take longer for them to put the rule into action. For many asylum seekers and their families, submitting a comment on this rule is not possible. We must show up and speak up in solidarity with those for whom doing so is not safe.
The government will accept comments only until Friday, October 23.
Resources to help you craft your own comment:
- Comment template from CLINIC, including guidance for faith-based groups
- Comment template from Tahirih Justice Center, including language on the rule’s impact on survivors of gender-based violence
- Click-to-comment portals from Human Rights First, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the National Immigrant Justice Center
Remember: Your comment does not have to be long, but it must be in your own words for it be considered.
THANKS TO HASTINGS CENTER FOR GENDER AND REFUGEE STUDIES
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