July 9, 2020 – Today, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security proposed a new regulation that would further gut the asylum system in the United States. IRAP strongly condemns the proposed regulation for using the current COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to deny protection in the United States to those fleeing persecution and torture. The rule comes at the heel of other proposed regulations and final rules targeting asylum seekers.

“If implemented, the proposed regulation would further close the door to asylum seekers who flee to the United States in search of safety,” said Sunil Varghese, Policy Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). “The administration is politicizing the global pandemic to further their pre-existing aims to destroy asylum permanently. It is vital to keep Americans safe during a public health crisis. However, this proposed rule, like many policies before it, fails to use existing mechanisms or the recommendations of medical experts to mitigate the spread of disease while upholding our humanitarian obligations. Instead, it seeks to stoke fear and shift blame for a virus that is spreading wildly in America.”

The rule was published today and comments will be due 32 days. IRAP plans to submit a comment to fight this proposal from becoming law. 

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) organizes law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid, litigation, and systemic advocacy, IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders. www.refugeerights.org