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Congressional Democrats Demand Trump Administration Reverse its Barrage of Policies Targeting Asylum Seekers

June 19, 2020
Press Release
Since coming into office, the administration has put in place nearly a dozen harmful policies to dismantle the U.S. asylum system

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Ahead of World Refugee Day, Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joined Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) and 80 Democratic Members of Congress in condemning the Trump Administration for its harmful policies that have dismantled the U.S. asylum system and demanded the reversal of these harmful measures. The lawmakers listed nearly a dozen various Trump administration policies implemented over the past three years which have chipped away at the laws governing asylum, including denying parole for asylum seekers, imposing severe and arbitrary restrictions to qualify for asylum, and expediting deportations which prevent asylum seekers from consulting legal representatives.

“For the past three years, Administration officials have systematically disregarded the laws and implemented new rules governing asylum that have prevented tens of thousands of asylum seekers from accessing a fair and safe adjudication process,” wrote the Members in letters to President Donald Trump, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Attorney General William Barr, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Matthew Albence, Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan, and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. “As a result, transgender people fleeing death threats in Central America, ethnic minorities fleeing conflict in Cameroon, families fleeing political persecution in Venezuela, and myriad other vulnerable people have been forced to remain in unsafe environments where their lives are at risk. As lawmakers, we are troubled by the blatant disregard for Congress’ explicit directions for how the federal government should process and adjudicate the cases of asylum seekers.”

The Senate letter was signed by U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-CO), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Tom Carper (D-DE), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tammy Baldwin (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Chris Murphy (D-CT).

The House letter was signed by Sylvia R. Garcia (D-TX), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), André Carson (D-IN), Jesús G. "Chuy" García (D-IL), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (D-VA),  Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Jason Crow (D-CO), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Josh Harder (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), William R. Keating (D-MA), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Donna E. Shalala (D-FL), Adam Smith (D-WA), Darren Soto (D-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Norma J. Torres (D-CA), and Filemon Vela (D-TX).

The full text of the Senate letter is available here. The House letter is available here.

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