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SPLC Statement on Trump Administration’s Effort to End Asylum

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued the following statement by Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney with the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project, regarding the Trump administration’s proposed regulations that would effectively upend the current asylum system.

“Since taking office, the Trump Administration has worked tirelessly to dismantle our nation’s asylum system. They have put in place policy after policy aimed at making it as difficult as possible for those fleeing danger to seek protection and have a fair day in court—even using the recent pandemic as an opportunity to limit their legal rights.

“The laws of this country require that people seeking protection have a meaningful opportunity for their cases to be heard. The proposed regulations raise the standards that an applicant must meet at the screening stage, creating a barrier that will be effectively impossible for a large portion of bona fide applicants to overcome. For those lucky enough to get past the screening stage, the proposed regulations virtually ensure a loss in immigration court. The proposed regulations curtail what little procedural fairness is left in immigration courts and aggressively whittle down the legal grounds for asylum, barring protections for people who would be eligible under longstanding case law. The cumulative effect is the end of asylum in the United States.

“We urge Congress not to stand by while this administration strips away the legal rights of those seeking refuge from persecution. They must push back on this appalling effort to abandon the very laws developed in the aftermath of World War II, when the U.S. turned a blind eye to so many refugees.”

The SPLC will continue to fight the Trump administration’s efforts to destroy the asylum system. Along with several other advocacy organizations, we are actively challenging numerous policies aimed at eviscerating the legal rights of people seeking asylum, including the “Turnback Policy,” the “Remain in Mexico Policy” and the previous asylum bans, as well as the Trump administration’s weaponization of the immigration court system to target asylum seekers. More information on these lawsuits is available here.