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June 05, 2019

Letter to Attorney General Barr and Acting Secretary McAleenan RE: White House Memorandum Proposing Additional Asylum Restrictions

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White House Memorandum Proposing Additional Asylum Restrictions

Dear Attorney General Barr and Acting Secretary McAleenan:

The undersigned organizations write to express our deep concern and profound disagreement with the Trump administration’s April 29 memorandum instructing the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to propose regulations that would further undermine the asylum system and risk the lives of asylum seekers in the United States.

The regulations the White House seeks would: impose an unprecedented fee on asylum applications; severely restrict the ability of asylum seekers to support and feed themselves and their families in the United States while waiting for final adjudication of their cases; assign immigration enforcement officers to conduct sensitive fear screenings; threaten due process by rushing the adjudication of asylum cases before already overburdened immigration courts; and place asylum seekers in limited proceedings that would restrict their access to protections for victims of crime in the United States.

We urge the administration to refrain from adopting such regulations which would erode the protections of the asylum system Congress created, violate U.S. immigration laws and treaty obligations to refugees, and put asylum seekers in danger of return to persecution in their home countries as well as exploitation and harm in the United States.

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