Speak Up to Save Asylum!

UPDATE: We did it! Over 86,600 public comments have been submitted on the Trump administration's dangerous new asylum rule. Thank you for using your voice and standing with asylum seekers!

Click here to read CGRS's comment on the rule.


On June 15 the Trump administration proposed an alarming new rule that will rewrite our asylum laws and completely gut protections for people fleeing life-threatening persecution.

This rule will be a death sentence for thousands of asylum seekers. It will also make it incredibly difficult for a future president to reverse the profound damage the Trump administration has caused in its first term.

We need everyone to speak out and submit a public comment opposing the rule by 11:59 PM ET on Wednesday, July 15.

Your voice matters. The Trump administration will be required to consider and respond to every individualized comment that is submitted. The more unique comments they receive, the longer it will take them to finalize the rule and begin using it to deny asylum cases and deport refugees.


Over the past three years, the Trump administration has attacked our refugee protection system from every angle, working at breakneck speed to place one obstacle after another in front of asylum seekers.

They have rejected longstanding legal precedents on matters as basic as the very definition of a refugee, making it nearly impossible for people fleeing deadly domestic violence or gang brutality to find protection.

They have all but shut down asylum processing at our southern border, trapping tens of thousands of asylum seekers in extremely dangerous conditions.

This new rule will codify these hateful policies and more in a single, vast federal regulation that will completely dismantle our asylum system.


It is vital that as many people as possible speak out against the proposed rule. If the administration is flooded with comments from our communities, it will take longer for them to put the rule into action.

The government will accept comments only until July 15, 2020. Your comment does not need to be long, but in order for it to be considered it must be in your own words.

Write about whatever part of the new rule you find most outrageous. Speak from personal experience if you can – as an advocate, as an asylee, or as a concerned community member. Perhaps your family came to this country seeking protection, or you know friends or neighbors who have benefited from our asylum system.


Use CGRS's social media toolkit to spread the word about the upcoming comment deadline. Urge your friends, family, and colleagues to join you in speaking up to defend asylum!


CGRS Director of Litigation Jamie Crook breaks down what the rule would do and why your voice matters in the latest video of our "Asylum in the 21st Century: What's New?" series.

CGRS attorneys also presented an in-depth webinar for advocates, diving deep into some of the rule's most harmful provisions and how they would endanger asylum seekers. You can view a recording of the webinar online here.


Many of our partners have shared very helpful sample comments. Do remember that it's important to put your comment in your own words!


Among its many harmful provisions, the proposed rule will:

  • Make it much harder for asylum seekers to pass their initial screening interviews at the border – meaning many will be immediately turned away, without ever having a chance to tell their full story to an immigration judge.
  • Allow immigration judges to deny asylum without even holding a hearing, permitting them to decide cases based solely on an extremely complicated application form that far too many asylum seekers are forced to fill out themselves, without the help of an attorney. 
  • Completely change the legal definition of “refugee” in such a way that virtually no applicant will be able to win asylum, including:
    • Women and children who have suffered extreme domestic violence
    • Children and families targeted by violent gangs for sexual abuse, forced recruitment, or extortion
    • LGBTQ people persecuted for their sexual orientation or gender identity

The courageous women profiled in CGRS’s Immigrant Women Too stories are among the many refugees in our communities who, under the new rule, would have lost their cases and faced deportation to the very dangers they fled.

  • Create new “adverse factors” that will allow judges to deny asylum even when an applicant meets the refugee definition.

These factors could shut the door on asylum seekers simply because they passed through another country on their journey to the United States, or because they crossed the border without going through an official entry point. This is an especially outrageous provision given the web of policies that have shut down asylum processing at the border and kept thousands stranded in dangerous Mexican border towns.