New DHS Guidelines Put Asylum Seekers at Risk, Says HIAS

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security released guidelines today on immigration enforcement, alarming immigrants and advocates across the country. In addition to drastically increasing the number of ICE agents and radically expanding who counts as a “priority” for deportation, the Trump administration’s guidance contains several deeply troubling provisions impacting asylum seekers. These include plans for an unprecedented expansion of expedited removal procedures, which will subject many asylum seekers and other migrants in the United States of being summarily deported without access to an immigration judge, legal counsel or basic due process of law.

In response, Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, issued the following statement:

“The guidance released today treats vulnerable people, many of whom are unaccompanied children and asylum seekers, like criminals. 

“Prioritizing detention and removal over protection and due process is not only cruel, it is dangerous. Such detention and deportation without due process would violate U.S. obligations under the Refugee Convention, and put the most vulnerable at risk of being summarily returned to countries where they would face persecution and torture.

“HIAS remains committed to fighting this and every action that endangers the lives of refugees and asylum seekers, and that jeopardizes their ability to obtain the protection they need and deserve. Our history and values, as Jews and as Americans, compels us to continue fighting to preserve the American tradition of welcome and of providing refuge.”


HIAS is the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees—including women and children, and ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities—whose lives are in danger for being who they are. Guided by our values and history, HIAS helps refugees rebuild their lives in safety and advocates to ensure that all displaced people are treated with dignity. More info at @HIASrefugees, Facebook and

Backed by over 1,900 American rabbis in 48 states and more than 300 congregations across the country, HIAS stands firm in our commitment, as Jews and as Americans, to support and welcome refugees.


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