Florence Project Decries Biden Administration’s Proposed Rule Further Restricting Access to Asylum 

Phoenix, AZ – On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the Biden administration’s asylum ban, the administration has introduced a new proposed rule further restricting access to the asylum process in the United States. The rule would allow immigration officials to fast track the removal of certain people without ever seeing a judge. While the stated intent of the rule is to remove people considered a national security risk more quickly, the reality is that these bars are actually extremely complicated to apply and, yet, this rule would allow the government to apply a lower standard of proof in cases involving these potential bars while at the same time denying individuals any meaningful opportunity to rebut the accusation that the bar should apply. A person seeking asylum would be required to prove there is a “significant possibility” that they would be able to establish that the bar in not applicable to them. 

In response, Florence Project Legal Director Laura St. John said: “This is yet another policy that makes it more difficult for people to simply access the legal process to request asylum and prioritizes false notions of efficiency over due process. Despite the administration’s claims, this will not increase efficiency in border processing or in court, but it will lead to people with deserving claims getting turned away from ever having the opportunity present their case to an immigration judge in court. This is akin to telling people they need to show up to the emergency room prepared with x-rays and CAT scans to prove that they need to see a doctor. The emergency room might be less crowded, but only because people will not be receiving the care they need.” 

Applying bars at the credible fear screening stage does not increase efficiency, it just violates people’s right to due process as they are typically detained and without legal counsel at this stage. This is particularly true because applying these bars is not as straightforward as it might initially seem. They are legally complex, very fact-specific, and extremely broad, and as Human Rights First has reported, often incorrectly applied.  

“As we reflect on one year of the asylum ban, we are deeply dismayed to see the Biden administration enacting further restrictions on asylum rather than committing to lifting the ban and restoring meaningful access to a process for people who need protection,” St. John said. “The ban has put people in dangerous situations by restricting access to the asylum process, and this new proposed bar will do the same.”