Washington, DC — On International Human Rights Day, the Trump administration published a new asylum rule that will have devastating effects on the ability for people seeking asylum and fleeing violence and persecution to access humanitarian protections in the United States. This final rule extinguishes the guiding light of the moral and legal obligations offered through the right to seek asylum.
Refugee Council USA (RCUSA), a coalition advocating to maintain systems of protection and the wellbeing of those who seek refuge, condemns the administration’s sweeping change to US asylum regulations. These changes subvert the very foundation of the US asylum system and shut the door to people seeking asylum, including those fleeing life-threatening persecution due to their gender, while also undoing decades of legal precedent. These actions are done in direct opposition to established statutes, case law, and international obligations and wholly disregard US values and our standing on human rights.
This new rule is just one in a long line of attacks levied by the Trump administration against immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Despite a new administration set for inauguration in January, the Trump administration continues to push for changes to intentionally limit the ability of the US to offer welcome. These cumulative changes will take significant effort over years for the incoming administration and Congress to make right. The rule is set to take effect just nine days before inauguration.
Adam Hunter, RCUSA’s Executive Director notes, “Even while we expected the administration to push through this rule, we are still outraged by its appalling scope. Published on the day we commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — a process led and championed by Eleanor Roosevelt — shows how far the Trump administration has diminished American leadership. Words of the declaration’s preamble written to describe the past have unfortunately remained present through our times: ‘disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind.’ Our coalition will continue to be motivated by the inherent dignity of all people and fight for the safety and freedom humanitarian protection provides.”
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.
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