Press Releases

ICYMI: Reps. Nadler and Lofgren: Trump Issues Illegal Regulation to Keep Refugees from Seeking Asylum in U.S.

Washington, July 16, 2019

Washington, D.C. –Yesterday, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) released the following statement concerning the Trump Administration's new regulation to end asylum protection for most refugees from Central America:

“President Trump’s latest effort to undermine the rights of asylum seekers is morally reprehensible, un-American, and certainly illegal. In two clear ways this regulation violates theImmigration and Nationality Act, once again proving that President Trump will ignore the law to appease his base and keep the United States from remaining the safe haven we were founded to be.”

In addition to violating the Administrative Procedure Act by eliminating the opportunity for prior notice and public comment, Trump’s rule violates the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in two primary ways:

• First, the regulation completely disregards the legal requirements established by Congress for restricting asylum to those who travel through third countries. The INA requires either (1) proof that the asylum seeker has “firmly resettled” in the third country or (2) a written bilateral agreement documenting that the third country is one in which the asylum seeker “would have access to a full and fair procedure for determining a claim to asylum or equivalent temporary protection.” Trump’s regulation is a clear attempt to circumvent these requirements, neither of which have been satisfied in this case.

• Second, the INA explicitly states that asylum seekers who arrive at a U.S. land border, “whether or not at a designated port of arrival,” can apply for asylum. Trump’s regulation violates this provision by effectively eliminating the ability for asylum seekers to apply at the southern border.

House Democrats have long fought for the United States to remain a beacon of freedom and hope for all people across the world. Last month, Rep. Lofgren introduced and Rep. Nadler co-sponsored the Northern Triangle and Border Stabilization Act, legislation to address the root causes of the refugee crisis in Central America before it reaches our border. Also last month, Rep. Nadler and Lofgren voted for H.R. 3401, an emergency funding bill that would provide humanitarian assistance to migrant children and families in U.S. custody, ensuring they have access to clean water, healthy food, and appropriate shelter.