Please urge the administration to immediately rescind the rule in its entirety. You will need to submit a PDF or Word doc for comments over 5,000 characters.

For a useful template from Human Rights First, click here.

Summary of Proposed Anti-Asylum Rule (July 2020)

  • The proposed new rule would illegally and unjustly bar and label many label asylum seekers as a threat to national security based on the pretext of unfounded public health grounds. 
  • It would allow the administration to prevent people from applying for asylum solely because they have traveled from or through a country where an infectious disease is present – and would give DHS and DOJ authority to make these designations without any medical or public health expertise. 
  • Under the rule, an asylum seeker can be denied protection regardless of whether she is actually ill. That means a person could be returned to life-threatening persecution based on the mere fact that a certain disease is present in her home country – even when careless U.S. deportations are to blame for the disease’s spread.
  • Public health and medical experts have repeatedly debunked the so-called public health rationale of the administration. Learn more here.
  • Disturbingly, the rule could also be applied to asylum seekers who have contracted COVID-19 in U.S. immigration detention facilities, where medical negligence is rampant.
  • The rule could even be used to exclude asylum seekers who have risked their own lives providing health care to COVID-19 patients in the United States. 
  • The administration justifies the proposed rule with a narrow national security provision in our immigration laws meant to apply only to individuals engaged in such activities as conspiring to overthrow the U.S. government. 
  • This is not the first time that the Trump administration has weaponized pandemic fears against asylum seekers. In March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an unprecedented order that has empowered the Department of Homeland Security to carry out nearly 70,000 summary expulsions of asylum seekers and child migrants at the border. 
  • The new rule goes one step further, allowing the administration to target asylum seekers whether they are arriving at the border or are already present in the United States. 
  • Worse still, the rule imposes a bar on not only asylum, but also withholding of removal, a related humanitarian protection that our government is required to provide people fleeing life-threatening persecution under both U.S. and international law.

For a useful template from Human Rights First, click here.

To post a comment, click here. Click the Comment box for Proposed Rule Security Bars and Processing, RIN 1615-AC57.

Personalizing your Comment Letter

There is a fairly small character limit if the comment box is used, so we encourage everyone to tweak and play around with the language and formatting of the various templates that are out there, and then save your personalized version to a PDF and upload it as a PDF document. This allows the whole comment to be considered regardless of the character limit. You don’t need an account, but if you want to sign up for one, you’ll be notified when your comment is publicly posted and when it’s mentioned in any future response.  

How to personalize the comment (choose one or more):

  • Change the formatting (remove or change the title/subtitle), switch from bullet points to paragraphs or numbered statements, change the font, change the font size, change the spacing, change the margins, etc.)
  • Delete certain paragraphs that you don’t understand or don’t agree with or don’t think aid anything
  • Add one or more of your own arguments if you think anything wasn’t mentioned
  • Add arguments based in feelings (for example, “I think the proposed regulation is unfair because it is intentionally designed to discriminate against one of the most vulnerable populations in America. People who come to America seeking refuge should not be treated like animals, they should be treated with humanity.” – etc.)
  • Rephrase some or all of the arguments used in the Word doc and put them into your own words (like when you were plagiarizing that paper on Julius Caesar back in 10th grade)
  • Put the arguments into a different order (they’re broken up by bullet point so this should be easy to do)
  • Upload PDF documents you think support your position (in addition to your comment)
  • Delete the formal legal citations if you don’t know what they mean – you’ll want to leave in the ones about 85 Fed. Reg. 36264 (June 15, 2020) though.
  • Sign your name at the bottom
  • Talk about who you are and why your opinion matters
  • Suggest alternatives to the proposed regulation’s new rules (to the extent you can gleam what the new rules are from the attached comment template)

One More Thing!

Please share this information with anyone you can think of that might be interested in submitting a comment to help potential asylees. We need a barrage of comments to slow this process down as much as possible with the hopes that the current administration won’t have enough time left in office to promulgate a final rule.

Summary of Past Regulations and Actions

There are a dozen sweeping provisions, but here are a few:

  • Completely barring asylum on the basis of gender, which would invalidate protections for individuals seeking safety from gender-based violence 
  • Changing the very definition of “persecution” and “torture” 
  • Allowing judges to deny asylum applications without ever allowing the individual their day in court 
  • Redefining some of the core grounds for asylum claims, including membership in a “particular social group,” which could have a dire impact on LGBTQ individuals 
  • Denying asylum to people who entered the country unlawfully, or who submitted their asylum application more than a year after entering the country without exceptions 
  • Barring an individual who travels to the U.S. through two or more countries from asylum, who has ever failed to file taxes, or who has ever withdrawn a prior application for asylum.