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January 09, 2018

Administration Attempts to Undermine Asylum System, Citing False “Loopholes”

New York City—In response to comments made today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the “loopholes” that are allegedly being “taking advantage of” at the southern border, Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer released the following statement: 

“If by ‘loopholes’ the administration is referring to credible fear interviews, which are a hurdle asylum seekers must pass before they are even allowed to apply for asylum, then this is yet another disingenuous and opportunist attempt by the Trump Administration to illegally block vulnerable refugees from securing protection in the United States.  

“The Trump Administration is trying to make it even more difficult for those fleeing from harm to even apply for asylum in this country.  The anti-refugee agenda is not pro-American, it is anti-American values, and the antithesis of what this country—long a refuge for people fleeing persecution—stands for.  

“In its statement, DHS disingenuously failed to even mention the regional refugee and displacement crisis that triggered increased protection requests in other countries in recent years. The United States is more than capable of both providing protection to the persecuted and managing its southern border. The administration must abandon its politicized efforts to block people fleeing persecution from this country and stop treating them as bargaining chips in legislative deal negotiations.” 

Human Rights First notes that many refugees already struggle to navigate the complex and difficult U.S. asylum system.  Less than 20 percent of those held in immigration detention are able to secure legal counsel, the most pivotal factor in the success of an asylum claim.  

For more information see Human Rights First fact sheets, Trump Administration Immigration Policy Priorities or Immigration Court Appearance Rates. To speak with Acer contact Corinne Duffy at DuffyC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.