President Trump is Pushing a New Rule that Would Force Asylum Seekers to Pay an Application Fee

According to reporting from The New York Times, President Trump is once again attempting to impose new burdens on people claiming asylum in the United States. On April 29th, 2019, the Trump Administration unveiled a new set of regulatory changes aimed at restricting the rights of asylum seekers.

Asylum seekers are fleeing violence and persecution. Should they become law, these draconian changes would make things far more challenging for some of the world’s most desperate people. In this article, our Los Angeles asylum attorney explains exactly what the Trump Administration is trying to do and what will happen next.  

New Asylum Restrictions: Three Changes Pushed By the Trump Administration

In the presidential memorandum signed by President Trump, he ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enact the following three changes to U.S. asylum rules:

  • Application Fees: Under current regulations, asylum applications are free. This makes sense, as asylum seekers are often desperate people who are fleeing dangerous situations. For the first time, President Trump is ordering the federal government to charge asylum-seekers an application fee. Of course, many asylum seekers lack the financial resources to pay these fees. This would put the U.S. out of step with the rest of the developed world, where asylum application fees are rare.
  • Restrictions on Employment: Perhaps even more alarming is that the Trump Administration’s proposed changes would bar asylum seekers from obtaining any type of employment while their application is still pending. Put another way, in addition to paying new fees, asylum seekers would be legally prevented from earning money to support themselves and their family while they await a decision on their case.
  • 180-Day Adjudication: Finally, the Trump Administration wants all asylum claims fully adjudicated within 180 days — with a small exception for unusual circumstances. Faster, more efficient resolution of immigration cases is not, in itself, a bad thing. But, the devil is always in the details with this type of policy. There are serious questions about whether the Administration will set up a fair process to handle these cases.

The DOJ and DHS Has 90 Days to Set Specific Policies — Litigation Should Follow

In his memo, President Trump did not set any clear or specific policies. Instead, he instructed the DOJ and the DHS to come up with procedures that achieve his goals within the next 90 days. It is a near certainty that litigation from immigrant rights group will follow immediately after any new policies are announced. Our law firm will closely monitor all developments related to asylum and other immigration matters.  

We Fight for Immigrant Rights

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our immigration lawyer has extensive experience representing asylum applicants. To get immediate guidance with your case, please reach out to us today. From our law office in Los Angeles, we represent asylum-seekers throughout the region, including in Compton, Inglewood, Long Beach, Glendale, and Anaheim. Call (213) 262-2000.