Posted on December 11, 2020

Trump Administration Implements New Restrictions on Asylum Eligibility

Tal Axelrod, The Hill, December 10, 2020

The Trump administration is working to place new restrictions on which immigrants are eligible for asylum, its latest effort to curb both legal and illegal immigration.

In a new 419-page rule from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) the administration said it will move to curtail the circumstances under which a person can apply for asylum protections, a decision it acknowledges will likely lead to a drop in asylum grants.

Specifically, the new regulations would broaden judges’ power to say asylum applications are “frivolous,” a ruling that would bar an immigrant’s request from being approved, and deny requests without a hearing if the claims are deemed to be backed by insufficient evidence.

The new policy also says that asylum seekers must prove that they will suffer “a severe level of harm” should they return to their home country. Current law says asylum seekers must have a “credible fear of persecution or torture.”

The definition of persecution is also limited in the new rule and will not cover some treatment that the U.S. deems “unfair, offensive, unjust, or even unlawful or unconstitutional,” “harassment” or “threats with no actions taken to carry out the threats.” {snip}