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Home / Press Release / Trump Administration Outlines Plans to Decimate Asylum System
April 30, 2019

Trump Administration Outlines Plans to Decimate Asylum System

Washington, D.C.—In response to last night’s memorandum from President Trump that outlines steps that would drastically undermine the asylum system, Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer issued the following statement:

President Trump’s latest order is a clear attempt to rig the system to block refugees from asylum or other protection in this country. It is a disgraceful continuation of his years-long campaign to punish refugees for seeking asylum. 

The regulations discriminate against refugees, who lack significant financial resources, by imposing an application fee and prohibiting them from working. It is ludicrous and cruel to subject refugee families to homelessness and hunger simply to score political points. These families are not asking for handouts, they are simply trying to survive and support their families while their legal case moves through the court system. 

The order also signals support for an absurd plan to allow border patrol agents, or other immigration officers, to conduct credible fear interviews instead of trained asylum officers. Just as a hospital would not assign security guards to triage incoming patients, border officers should not make life-or-death decisions about refugees seeking protection at the border.

The proposals outlined in the memorandum also appear aimed at rushing cases through the system regardless of due process, and blocking victims of serious crimes and abused or neglected children from special forms of protection created by Congress. Yet again, the Trump Administration is attempting to trample on the law when it doesn't line up with its hard-line immigration policies.

Asylum saves lives. Instead of more policies and politics of cruelty and chaos, the Trump Administration needs to implement real solutions to address the Central American refugee and displacement crisis.

Human Rights First and its volunteer attorneys represent thousands of refugees from all over the world seeking asylum in the United States—refugees who would all be harmed by the proposals outlined in last night’s memorandum. For more information on concrete ways to restore order to the region and the U.S. border while upholding the United States’ legal and humanitarian commitments, see Human Rights First’s fact sheet: The Real Solution: Regional Response Rather than Border Closures, Mass Incarceration, and Refugee Returns.

For more information contact Corinne Duffy at [email protected] or 202-370-3319.