WASHINGTON D.C. (NEXSTAR) — The Trump administration is proposing a series of changes to US asylum laws that will drastically limit who can qualify. Critics say this comes as most Americans are distracted by the pandemic and national civil unrest. However, supporters say the changes will simplify and speed up a backlogged system.
The Trump administration is proposing sweeping changes to US asylum laws.
“It’s important the judges have the tools and asylum officers have the tools to remove frivolous applications,” said Lora Ries of the Heritage Foundation. She says the proposed changes will speed up the system for those who are truly in danger.
“Applying for asylum has taken longer and longer because so many people are applying for it,” said Ries.
But the proposal includes so many changes that advocates for asylum seekers say meeting the new standards will be nearly impossible.
“Basically making it such that 99% of people who apply for asylum won’t be able to get it,” said Charanya Krishnaswami of Amnesty International. She says people from gangs or gender-based violence will be excluded from US asylum protections.
“They’re literally attempts to write the refugee definition out of existence,” said Krishnaswami.
The proposed changes also push asylum seekers to relocate within their own country or to a country they traveled through before arriving at the US border.
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley says the administration has a track record of trying to block all types of immigration.
“They have put up obstacle after obstacle to those seeking asylum,” said Merkley.
Groups that help asylum seekers promise to fight the changes in court.