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HIAS Statement on Asylum Changes

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- Last night, President Trump issued a memorandum that would make it more difficult for individuals to exercise their fundamental right to seek asylum, and place new restrictions on those who do. These rules are set to go into effect in July.

The memorandum outlines some of the most drastic proposed changes to the U.S. asylum system to date. If implemented, asylum seekers will be charged a fee for asylum and work permit applications. It will also change current practice, which allows asylum seekers to apply for work permits after 180 days, by restricting those who enter the country between ports of entry  from working until they know if they are being granted asylum or not. Additionally, under these regulations, immigration courts would need to adjudicate asylum claims within 180 days, despite the backlog of over 800,000 cases pending around the country.

“These policies are out of step with our legacy of American humanitarian leadership and with the rest of the world. Many countries receive far more refugees and asylum seekers and have far less in the way of resources than we do, yet few decide to charge fees to people who are running for their lives,” said Melanie Nezer, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at HIAS. “Asylum seekers arriving at our borders today are families who have risked everything to find safety.”

“These new rules would make asylum accessible only to those who can pay, and will increase the risks of exploitation for individuals and families seeking safety,” added Nezer. “These changes would not make us safer or the border more secure. To address increases in asylum seekers at the border, the administration should invest in making our asylum system fair and humane, rather than punish people seeking asylum.”

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