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HIAS Says Proposed Regulations Would Obliterate Asylum System

SILVER SPRING, Md. Today, the Federal Register published 161 pages of proposed asylum regulations that are exhaustive in their scope. If implemented, they would alter asylum in the United States beyond recognition.

These proposed changes include everything from completely barring the granting of asylum on the basis of gender, to changing the very definition of what “persecution” means. In addition, they would make getting asylum because of one’s political opinion or membership in a particular social group exponentially more difficult. It is also important what the lengthy regulations do not say. They do not reference that the changes would start with the submission of new asylum applications, meaning that it is possible that people with pending cases who applied for asylum years ago could also be adversely affected.

In response to the publication of the new regulations, Naomi Steinberg, HIAS’ Vice President for Policy and Advocacy noted that, “For the last three years, we have seen the Trump administration dismantle our asylum system. It has been a near constant stream of changes that have rolled back decades of established legal precedent, resulting in the removal of refugee protections that have long been an accepted part of who we are as a country. These new regulations are the equivalent of taking a steamroller and obliterating what remains of the asylum system. They flout any pretense of attempting to adhere to the rule of law and basic tenets of due process.”

There is now a 30-day period during which the public can submit comments in response to the proposed regulations. The administration must review all of the comments before the regulations are finalized.

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