Published: Fri, May 03, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Trump introduces sweeping changes to asylum in memo

Trump introduces sweeping changes to asylum in memo

President Trump has proposed charging an application fee to asylum-seekers as his administration tries to stem the flow of migrants surging across the southern border with Mexico.

In the memo addressed to the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, Trump said "that the immigration and asylum system is in crisis as a effect of the mass migration of aliens across our southern border". They include: adjudicating asylum applications within 180 days of filing; requiring a fee for asylum applications and work permit applications; and barring migrants who have entered or attempted to enter the U.S. illegally from receiving work authorization before any relief or protection is granted. Second, he wants to restrict who can apply for the right to work in the US while they're waiting for their asylum claim to be processed.

"Asylum seekers are fleeing persecution, and have left their families, communities, homes, jobs and possessions behind in order to save their lives", said Archi Pyati, policy chief at Tahirih Justice Center. That provision already exists in US law but has been hampered because of a crushing backlog of more than 800,000 immigration court cases.

Finally, the order attempts to shorten the adjudication process for asylum by mandating all claims be resolved within 180 days.

The memo specifically called for the authorities to set a fee for asylum-seekers filing their claims and for their work permit applications.

The plan could make it impossible for some refugees to even apply for asylum in the U.S.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) reacts today to the Trump Administration's latest round of restrictions on already-beleaguered asylum seekers fleeing persecution, pervasive violence, and harm.

But with the proposed changes, Crow worries people may only be referred for asylum or withholding of removal proceedings - categories that have different standards and which aren't available to some people, including those who have previously been deported and then unlawfully reentered the country. Speaking to reporters, they did not say a word about Trump's asylum memorandum or any other aspect of his anti-immigrant policy. The firings included the dismissal of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who had implemented all of the administration's attacks on immigrants' rights but reportedly balked at resuming the forcible separation of immigrant children from their parents and carrying out measures that directly violate the law. It would also orders US officials to process any application for asylum within 180 days. About 20 percent of those who claim asylum in the USA are granted it, but the rates vary by country of origin. In March, the monthly number of people apprehended and deemed inadmissable at the U.S. -Mexico border surged to more than 100,000, the highest level in more than a decade. This policy would, in theory, enhance the efficiency of the asylum process. Instead of further burdening the beleaguered immigration and asylum system, the administration should prioritize common-sense policies, such as investing in infrastructure at the ports of entry, increasing the number of immigration judges and asylum adjudicators, and investing in life-saving and effective foreign aid.

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