Asylum officers are voicing their opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed regulations that, if implemented, would dismantle the country’s asylum system and require officers to violate U.S. and international laws.
The Trump administration in June published a 161-page proposal creating barriers at all stages of the asylum process, making it more difficult if not impossible for those fleeing prosecution to seek refuge in the United States —particularly refugees from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The AFGE National Citizen and Immigration Services Council 119, which represents asylum officers nationwide, submitted comments July 15 opposing the anti-refugee rules and saying that implementing them would cause Council 119 members to have to violate their oath.
"We felt compelled to file these public comments,” said Michael Knowles, spokesperson for the council. “The asylum officers we represent have taken a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution and faithfully administer the laws of the United States. The proposed new rules are contrary to U.S. and international laws concerning the protection of refugees -- and if implemented, would cause our members to violate their oaths and be complicit in an egregious violation of human rights. Our members expect us to speak out on their behalf."
Here are a few examples of how the proposed regulations would force the officers – and the United States – to violate the laws and human rights:
The U.S. immigration law does not grant the Executive Branch the power to make the types of wholesale changes reflected in the proposed regulations.
Council 119 urges the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to immediately rescind the proposed regulation and instead focus their efforts on advancing policies that ensure that people who need refugee protection can find safety in the United States.