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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

Systematic Plan to Narrow Humanitarian Protection: A New Era of U.S. Asylum Policy

Posted by migrationpolicy on October 24th, 2018

The administration has acted strongly and quickly to restrict the pathways to seek and gain asylum in the United States. In Matter of A-B the Attorney General overturned a Board of Immigration Appeals case in an attempt to eliminate domestic and gang violence as grounds for granting asylum. Such serious harm is often one of the central reasons why asylum seekers, especially from Central America, flee. Other new policies include criminally prosecuting asylum seekers who cross the border unlawfully for the first time; pushing back families without valid visas who seek asylum at ports of entry (despite laws that allow people to apply for protection at legal crossing points); detaining families, including pregnant women, while they pursue an asylum claim; and imposing case completion quotas on immigration judges so that they issue asylum and other immigration decisions more quickly. Whither asylum? This panel--including Georgetown Law Professor Andrew I. Schoenholtz; Dilley Pro Bono Project Managing Attorney Shalyn Fluharty; Immigration Reform Law Institute Director of Litigation Christopher J. Hajec; and U.C. Hastings College of the Law Bank of America Chair Karen Musalo--discussed the legal issues underpinning the asylum system changes and the immediate and longer-term effects of the administration’s actions on the U.S. asylum system. They also considered whether the new policies are in conflict with the international treaties to which the United States is signatory and other international law obligations.

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