New Rules Make it Difficult to Obtain Asylum

New Rules Make it Difficult to Obtain Asylum

The government releases far-reaching rules that make it substantially difficult to obtain asylum, coming closer to what critics say is a lethal blow to the US humanitarian protection application system.

The most recent series of initiatives – preliminarily files last week – instructs immigration judges to be more selective when granting applications and allows them to reject some without the need for a hearing.

here are some clauses that they highlight:

  • Immigration judges, who work for the Justice Department and take orders from the attorney general, could reject “legally deficient” applications without the need for a hearing. Asylum seekers would have at least 10 days to respond.
  • An audience allows asylum seekers to understand the process, said Greg Chen, director of relations with the government for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Those who do not have lawyers, do not speak English, and are unfamiliar with immigration laws would be at a greater disadvantage.
  • There are several new factors that weigh against asylum, including not having paid taxes. Criminal records will continue to be considered against the asylum seeker even if the convictions have been expunged, modified or reversed.
  • The ban on granting asylum to anyone traveling through another country on their way to the United States carries additional weight. Having spent more than two weeks in a country or having traveled through more than one country can prevent someone from obtaining asylum.
  • The goal of asylum is to protect people from persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group. Social group is the most difficult to define, and the government has tried to raise the standards for victims of gang violence and domestic violence.
  • The proposed regulations say that gang members should not be considered part of a social group if they were recruited or targeted by gangs or if they live in a country with widespread violence.
  • The regulations redefine “persecution,” saying that, to meet that requirement, the asylum seeker must be subject to a “compelling threat.” Cornell’s Yale-Loehr says a prisoner living with lights on 24 hours a day, loud music, lack of water, and insufficient space to lie down would not meet those criteria.
  • The definition of “political opinion” is also interpreted more restrictively.

Although the new document is apparently arcane and complicated, the consequences could be profound, especially for Central Americans fleeing the endemic violence that has made the United States the world’s preferred destination for asylum seekers.

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