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July 01, 2020

Speak out against Trump’s gutting of U.S. asylum!

topic: Refugees and Asylum
type: Donation, NGO, Petition
by: Yair Oded

Last month, the Trump administration proposed a set of rules that would effectively dismantle the United States’ asylum mechanism. 

The rule proposes to categorically disqualify people fleeing gang-related and gender-based violence from applying for asylum. This would encompass individuals fleeing rape, sex trafficking, domestic abuse, female genital mutilation, as well as persecution based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Gender-based violence continues to be a prominent cause behind asylum requests lodged in the United States, particularly by women. Furthermore, as 76 countries still criminalise LGBTQ+ individuals, and violence against them is rampant across the world, maintaining a clear path for protection for queer people is vital. 

Previous decisions by immigration judges have paved a path for victims of gender-based violence and abuse to seek protection within U.S. borders. But seeing as U.S. immigration laws do not dictate a coherent stance on the matter, and inconsistencies in cases abound, the new rule by the Trump administration could permanently close the door on tens of thousands of individuals fleeing gender-based violence. 

The new rule would also allow immigration judges to deny applicants based on a written application only (an extremely convoluted document to tackle) and without a hearing, and prohibit anyone entering the country illegally from applying for asylum in the U.S. - a move that bluntly violates both the 1951 Refugee Convention, to which the U.S. is signatory, and U.S. asylum laws

As is required by law, the government is obligated to review public comments regarding its proposed policies for a period of thirty days. Seeing as the rule was proposed on 15 June, 2020, Americans have until 15 July, 2020 to submit original statements about the new asylum regulations before they go into effect. Click here to access the government website where comments on this specific rule can be submitted. 

Tahirih Justice Center, a U.S. based nonprofit organisation advocating for immigrant women and girls, has launched a campaign encouraging the public to raise its voice against the proposed rule. 

Tahirih provides a comment template, but urges people not to simply copy and paste it, seeing as the government only reviews original comments. Please take a moment to review Tahirih’s instructions and then submit your comment to the U.S. government voicing your opinion about the proposed rule. 

If you are not based in the U.S. or submitting a comment is not an option, please visit the Tahirih website to learn more about gender-based asylum, access information about their ongoing lawsuits, events and campaigns, and make a donation to support their efforts. 

Image: Daniel Arauz