In November the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a rule to bar asylum applications from people who enter the United States between official ports of entry at the southern border. This sweeping policy change violates fundamental human rights commitments under U.S. and international law. It is, in effect, a ban on the right to seek asylum in the United States.
While the Trump administration illegally rushed this rule into effect and litigation to rescind it is ongoing, we must show our opposition and bolster the public record against this rule. The deadline to submit a comment is Tuesday, January 8.
Please fill out the form below to draft your own comment, telling DHS and DOJ to rescind this egregious rule now. Personalized comments that speak from your own unique position and perspective work best. If you are in search of inspiration, there are talking points and resources at the bottom of this page, and you can also check out UUSC’s organizational comment.
|Thank you for your interest in supporting human rights.
This call to action has expired, unfortunately, but we encourage you to check out our Advocacy & Mobilizing page for the latest updates about our work and how to take action to advance human rights.
Talking Points and Resources
- The values of Unitarian Universalism and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights tell us that all people have value, regardless of immigration status.
- U.S. asylum laws have protected religious, ethnic, and other refugees for generations, and follow a deep tradition of welcoming individuals who flee tyranny and persecution. People seeking safety in this country bring with them the gift of their courageous struggle for freedom.
- Attacking asylum is beyond the pale of conventional politics or partisan debate and is further evidence that the president’s immigration agenda is steeped in white nationalism.
- This Rule violates both U.S. immigration and international law, which guarantees every person in or who arrives in the United States the opportunity to seek asylum, regardless of manner of entry. Source: 8 U.S.C. § 1158(a)(1). (“Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival … irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum in accordance with this section…”). The obligations of the 1951 Refugee Convention, via the 1967 United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, are incorporated into U.S. law under the Refugee Act of 1980.
- The Rule places unaccompanied minor children at further risk by denying them their ability to present their asylum claim in a non-adversarial proceeding as required by anti-trafficking law. Source: 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(3)(C).
- Harsh immigration policies on the border do not meaningfully deter individuals from coming to the United States to flee violence. Source: Center for American Progress
- The Rule falsely claims that it does not violate U.S. human rights obligations because it still allows individuals to apply for a different status: “withholding of removal.” However, this status is not only less protective, but also requires a higher burden of proof, making it difficult to meet, particularly for people who may have lost access to crucial documentation as they fled their homes in search of safety. Source: Human Rights First
- The lives and safety of millions of individuals depend on the United States maintaining a robust asylum system. By striking at the heart of this system, Trump endangers both human life and U.S. values.
- Those in flight are fleeing human rights abuses, violence, and poverty; they are not leaving their homes because they want to – but because they have to. When the international community established the right to asylum, they did it for everyone, not just for those who pass a white supremacist screening test.
- Additional Resources
- Read the full rule: Aliens Subject to a Bar on Entry Under Certain Presidential Proclamations; Procedures for Protection Claims
- Trump’s New Rule Strikes at the Heart of U.S. Asylum
- Human rights group to Trump’s new executive rule: Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s an asylum ban.
- O.A. v. Trump (litigation challenging the asylum ban) documents: amended complaint and amicus brief
- Submitting Public Comments – a general resource on framing, drafting, and submission.