HIAS Statement on Administration's New Rule on Barring Asylum

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- This morning, the Trump administration released a new rule that will ban individuals at the southern border from seeking asylum if they fail to apply for asylum in at least one country they passed through while traveling to the United States. While it does allow exceptions for applicants who were denied protection in another country or are victims of trafficking, this rule will bar the vast majority of individuals, including unaccompanied children, from seeking safety and protection in the United States. 

In response, Melanie Nezer, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at HIAS, said: “With this new policy, the United States government is further down the road toward full abdication of our role as the world’s humanitarian leader in refugee protection– a role it has held since World War II. U.S. and international law do not require people to apply for asylum on the road to safety; they are allowed to apply for asylum in the country where they feel they will be safe. For many fleeing Central America and elsewhere, that place is the United States.”

The government can take steps to stem the flow of asylum seekers coming to the U.S. that comply with international law while also remaining pragmatic and humane. Such steps could include working to build the capacities of other countries in the region to process asylum claims while investing in our own under-resourced asylum system, and restarting our refugee resettlement program in Central America. Instead, the policy announced today reflects a complete lack of concern or interest in the safety of desperate people who are asking for help, or the countries in the region that are struggling to care for them and need support.


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