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Trump Issues Stiffening New Limits On Asylum Eligibility

A new, 419-page rule by the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice would create additional bars to asylum eligibility and limit the circumstances in which individuals can qualify for protection, changes that the administration says “are likely to result in fewer asylum grants annually.”

Under the new rules, Immigration judges can more easily claim that applications are “frivolous“. This determination bars individuals from any form of immigration relief, as well as deny asylum requests without a hearing if they believe they lack certain evidence.

Currently, individuals who claim they have a “credible fear of persecution or torture” if they return to their home country are eligible for asylum status. Asylum grants individuals deportation protections and work authorization. After one year, asylees are eligible to apply for permanent lawful status.

But the Trump administration’s new rules would raise the standard for “persecution” that an asylum-seeker must prove they will suffer if returned to their home country to “a severe level of harm.”

The administration rule clarifies that “persecution” does not include: “every instance of harm” caused by criminal or military unrest in a country; any treatment that the U.S. considers “unfair, offensive, unjust, or even unlawful or unconstitutional;” harassment; or “threats with no actions taken to carry out the threats.”

Individuals who claim that they will face persecution based on gender or gang violence, among other grounds, would also generally not qualify for asylum under the new rules.

The rule will take effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register on Friday.


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