CGRS Decries New Rule Shutting Down Access to Asylum

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) decries the new interim final rule announced by the Trump Administration today, which would shut down access to asylum for many individuals and families fleeing life-threatening persecution. The rule would specifically preclude from protection those who cross the United States’ southwest border between official ports of entry. If implemented, it would result in the deportation of countless asylum seekers to perilous harm, in contravention of both U.S. and international law.

The new rule marks the Trump Adminstration’s latest assault on the right to asylum. From the White House’s cruel family separation policy to former Attorney General Sessions’ devastating ruling in Matter of A-B-, this Adminstration has been relentless in its attempts to undermine access to refugee protection. Just last month, Amnesty International reported that under the Trump Administration Customs and Border Protection has carried out a de facto policy of illegally turning asylum seekers away at the U.S.-Mexico border, forcing many to cross between official ports of entry. Today’s action seeks to prevent those impacted by this unlawful practice from applying for protection.

The Trump Administration claims that central to their cruel, anti-refugee agenda is a commitment to upholding the rule of law. However, the new rule announced today violates multiple international and domestic laws, including the Immigration and Nationality Act, which specifically states that any individual in the United States or arriving at the border – “whether or not at a designated port of arrival” – has a legal right to apply for asylum. The Trump Administration cannot upend established law with the stroke of a pen. Individuals fleeing violence and persecution must be provided a meaningful opportunity to present claims for relief, no matter where or how they cross the border.