RCUSA responds to proposed asylum rule change

Washington, DC – Last week the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice announced a new rule regarding the US asylum program. The rule, which will go into effect 60 days after it is posted in the Federal Register, aims to address the US’ significant backlog in adjudicating asylum claims by granting asylum officers the ability to offer decisions on asylum claims at the border – granting asylum, referring people seeking asylum to a credible fear interview, or suggest the individual be processed for expedited removal.

“We are glad to hear that the Biden administration is taking the asylum backlog seriously, and are aiming to take actionable steps to address the issues,” said RCUSA Executive Director John Slocum. “However, we have significant concerns regarding fair process. Efficiency does not inherently speak to equity or accessibility. Beyond the wait times for many people seeking asylum, there is an equally significant concern about the ability of asylum seekers to access effective legal representation – a necessity to navigate the complicated process. Shortened processing times without securing accessible legal representation and time to gather and present evidence of claims runs the risk of deepening inequities within the US asylum program. Those inequities can mean life or death when asylum seekers are returned to danger.”

RCUSA also insists that ending Title 42 expulsions and MPP are necessary parts of re-establishing fair, accessible, and timely asylum processing.

Media Contact: Sarah Seniuk, sseniuk@rcusa.org

RCUSA is a diverse coalition advocating for just and humane laws and policies, and the promotion of dialogue and communication among government, civil society, and those who need protection and welcome. Individual RCUSA members do not all address all refugee-related issues, nor do all individual members approach common refugee-related issues identically.