Trump Administration Moves to Block Criminals from Receiving Asylum
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a joint final rule barring gang members and aliens with felony convictions from receiving asylum relief. In a release, DOJ noted that this will prevent convicted felons, drunk drivers, gang members, and other criminal aliens from receiving asylum protection under our immigration laws. This is a long-overdue and much-needed victory for supporters of immigration enforcement and reform.
Our country’s asylum laws are, frankly, broken. The multiple shortcomings of our asylum process were on full display during the border crisis of 2019, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehended over 977,000 illegal aliens at the southern border. The majority of those apprehended planned to apply for asylum protection.
Too often, aliens with criminal records or a history of gang activity incredibly ended up receiving asylum protection in the United States. This final rule will prevent that from happening in the future, further tightening our asylum process to ensure that only those who deserve asylum receive it, instead of giving it to criminal aliens.
DOJ noted in their release that “Congress delegated to the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to establish by regulation additional bars on asylum eligibility to the extent they are consistent with the asylum statute, as well as to establish ‘any other conditions or limitations on the consideration of an application for asylum’ that are consistent with the INA.” Using that Congressionally-delegated authority, DOJ and DHS created this rule to bar various types of criminal aliens from receiving asylum protections. This rule bars aliens from asylum protection if they have any of the following convictions:
- A felony under federal or state law
- An offense related to human smuggling, which is rampant at the southwest border
- Previously-deported aliens that try to illegally reenter the country
- Any federal, state, or local conviction related to gang activity
- DUI and DWI convictions
- A history of domestic violence
- Various misdemeanors related to identity fraud, federal benefits fraud, and possession of drug paraphernalia
Preventing criminal and gang-affiliated illegal aliens from entering the United States is a top priority for our organization and immigration enforcement agencies. This rule will ensure that criminal aliens do not benefit from asylum protection, and is another step in the right direction toward reforming the asylum process as a whole.