News & Resources

Press Release: IRAP Condemns New Proposed Anti-Asylum Regulation


June 11, 2020


Henrike Dessaules



(New York, NY) – Yesterday, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security provided advance notice of a proposed regulation that would further curtail asylum protections in the United States. IRAP strongly opposes the proposed regulation that aims to unjustly deny and even punish asylum seekers fleeing to the United States for protection from persecution and torture.

Under the proposal:

  • The credible fear screening process will be modified to more easily and quickly deport people seeking protection from persecution and torture through heightened evidentiary burdens and streamlined proceedings.
  • The government will punish individuals for seeking protection, if the administration believes that the person should have known that they do not qualify for asylum.
  • Immigration judges will deny asylum cases without a hearing based on restrictive new definitions of: persecution, torture, nexus, particular social group, political opinion, and internal relocation that are contrary to decades of existing statutes, case law, the Refugee Convention, and international obligations.
  • Immigration judges can deny asylum cases if the person did not pay taxes, has been in the United States unlawfully for more than one year, or traveled through another country on the way to the United States.
  • The government will be able to violate the confidentiality protections of asylum seekers when they see fit.

“The proposed regulation fundamentally and restrictively alters the refugee definition for asylum seekers in immigration court and at the border in contravention of decades of established statutes, case law, and international obligations,” said Sunil Varghese, Policy Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). “Few people, if any, will be able to receive the refugee protection they qualify for under this proposal, and the effects will be catastrophic.”

The rule will be published on Monday, June 15, 2020 and comments will be due 30 days from publication. IRAP plans to submit a comment to fight this proposal from becoming law and urges the administration to return to a framework where refugee and asylum applications are judged on their individual merits and not denied en masse based on xenophobic political whims.

To view the press release, click here.