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Pingree Joins 70+ House Members in Opposing Trump Administration Rule Restricting Asylum

Last night, Congresswoman Pingree joined more than 70 Members of Congress in opposing the Trump administration's new proposed regulation that will dramatically rewrite our nation's asylum laws.  The rule, published jointly by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 15, 2020, would eliminate long-established procedural protections and change the standards for demonstrating eligibility for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT).  This proposal, which is part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to restrict legal immigration, will deny critical relief to lawful asylum seekers, including women and children who are fleeing life-threatening circumstances.

In their letter, the Members wrote: "In establishing U.S. asylum law, Congress recognized that individuals seeking our protection face significant obstacles, often arriving in the United States as 'homeless refugees' with few resources. The Refugee Act of 1980 is intended to guarantee that each of these individuals would have a full and fair opportunity to present a claim for asylum. Indeed, '[t]he objectives of [the] Act are to provide a permanent and systematic procedure for the admission to this country of refugees of special humanitarian concern to the United States,' based on a 'uniform process.' The Departments’ proposal runs directly counter to these goals by creating a less inclusive, irregular, and inefficient asylum system that is inconsistent with 'one of the oldest and most important themes in our nation’s history: [w]elcoming homeless refugees to our shores.'"

Pingree released a statement on the Administration’s newly proposed rule:

“With this rule, the Trump administration is effectively trying to end asylum protections in the United States. More than 6,500 Mainers would have to return to countries in which they are unsafe and in danger. Asylum seekers are our friends, our colleagues, and our neighbors. They’re taxpayers, employees, and a part of what makes our state a wonderful place to live. Virtually every single one of them could have to leave our country if this rule took effect. 

“This rule is bigoted and wrong. It unfairly moves the goalpost for the more than 866,000 people nationwide who are in the middle of the asylum process, and it creates unnecessary roadblocks to safety for those around the world who fleeing persecution. The Trump administration must abandon this effort to undermine generations of American asylum law.”

The full text of the comment is available here.



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