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reliefweb - 1 month ago

United States of America: IRC comment opposing proposed expansion of asylum bars

Source: International Rescue Committee Country: United States of America, World
To Whom It May Concern: I am writing on behalf of the International Rescue Committee in response to the above-referenced Proposed Rules amending eligibility for asylum, as published in the Federal Register on December 19, 2019. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) would like to express its strong opposition to these amendments, which unnecessarily expands the barriers to asylum to the detriment of the most vulnerable who have sought protection in the United States. Established in 1933, the IRC provides relief, protection, resettlement, and integration services to refugees and other vulnerable immigrants. It is one of nine U.S. agencies sponsored by the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) to provide reception and placement services to refugees arriving in the United States. The IRC provides resettlement and integration assistance to thousands of refugees who have been lawfully admitted to the United States as well as Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants, asylum-seekers, asylees, victims of human trafficking, humanitarian parolees, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, lawful permanent residents and others. The IRC works with asylum seekers from around the world. Since the beginning of 2019, over 6,000 parents and children seeking asylum have received emergency humanitarian assistance from the IRC in Phoenix. At IRC’s Welcome Center, the IRC provides critical, immediate services to those being released from detention en route to their final destinations where they can pursue legal protections under asylum. We also provide comprehensive case management and other social support services to over 300 asylum seeking families in key destinations in the U.S. Many of the asylum seeking families arrive in the U.S. with little to no resources, and have already experienced extreme difficulty in accessing the asylum system. As an organization, the IRC responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. People fleeing persecution who fear for their lives, safety, and well-being due to the hostile environments from which they flee deserve fair access to safety and protection through the U.S. asylum system. The IRC strongly objects to the Proposed Rules as they violate statutory law on asylum, expand the criminal bars to asylum to cover almost all conceivable crime (including non-violent misdemeanors), promote a reprehensible policy of family separation, and deny clearly articulated nonrefoulement provisions from a variety of different domestic and international legal documents. Although the reasoning in this comment highlights some of the key problems of the Proposed Rules, for the sake of space and time, the comment herein is limited in scope and should not be taken as an indication that the issues raised within the comment are exhaustive. For the reasons detailed in the comments that follow, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice should immediately withdraw their current proposal, and instead dedicate their efforts to ensuring that individuals fleeing violence are granted full and fair access to asylum protections in the United States. Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments on the Proposed Rules. Please do not hesitate to contact Olga Byrne, Olga.Byrne@Rescue.org, to provide further information. Sincerely, Olga Byrne, Director, Immigration


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