Media Statement - AIS Denounces Latest Attempt to End Asylum

Dangerous new policy will close our doors to refugees fleeing persecution and return them to danger

July 17, 2019 - On Monday, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security announced an interim final rule that would deny asylum to people seeking protection at our southern border if they do not first apply for asylum from a third country while en route to the United States. The Alliance for Immigrant Survivors (AIS) joins a growing number of organizations and leaders in condemning this attempt to undermine domestic and international law and put refugees and their families in further danger.

The following is a statement from Archi Pyati, Co-Chair of the Alliance for Immigrant Survivors:

“The administration’s new rule is a broadscale attack on asylum, a critical humanitarian protection that the U.S. is obligated to provide under international law. It impacts everyone coming to the border, including families, unaccompanied children, and survivors of gender-based violence. The rule puts asylum seekers in further danger by returning them to countries that are not safe, where many have reported being tracked down by their persecutors. It forces many to attempt crossing unnoticed rather than seek asylum at ports of entry, making them more vulnerable to traffickers and criminal organizations and to increased risk of death.

“By changing established interpretations of Congressional statute without providing any notice or comment period to the public, the Administration is attempting to unilaterally rewrite U.S. asylum law. The Alliance for Immigrant Survivors (AIS) condemns this cruel policy to significantly restrict asylum and calls on Congress to hold the Administration accountable and pass measures to better protect refugees.

“This rule comes after the Administration has packed immigrants, including children, into inhumane detention facilities, repeatedly threatened sweeping raids, and relied on racist rhetoric to instill fear in those who need help accessing safety, including survivors of violence who are fleeing persecution.  

“This rule is part of a wider message being sent by this Administration, which is more interested in dehumanizing immigrants and refugees than honoring international human rights commitments. By closing the door to asylum seekers who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, the Administration is condemning them to dangerous situations where they could very well lose their lives. AIS will continue defending our nation’s asylum and other immigration laws that enable survivors of violence to seek life-saving refuge and protection.”