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The Trump administration proposed a far-reaching rule on Wednesday that would reimagine the U.S. asylum system as its currently known. Under the Department of Justice and the Homeland Security Department’s proposal, most asylum applicants would no longer be entitled to a full immigration court proceeding. The Trump administration argues this would streamline the process and save resources, cutting the current one million plus backlogged cases.
The rule would give the government the ability to deem more immigrants’ cases “frivolous” and prevent them from having an asylum hearing in the U.S. It would also reduce the types of persecution deemed eligible grounds for asylum. Applicants fleeing gangs, terrorists, “rogue” government officials or “non-state organizations” would no longer be recognized, which would drastically lower the odds of winning asylum for people leaving the Middle East or Central America. Gender-based determinations would also be limited.
The rule comes as asylum has been all but barred at the southern border due to rule put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It will undergo a 30-day review process before implementation, but will almost certainly face legal challenges. The Wall Street Journal
In other federal immigration news…
The Trump administration is weighing a new executive order that will temporarily bar employment-based immigration visas, including the H-1B visa. The suspension could extend until October, under the premise that it would protect American jobs during the economic fallout due to the pandemic. H-1B, H-2B visa for seasonal workers, J-1 visa for short term workers and L-1 visas for internal company transfers could face a suspension, with specific industries exempted. The bans will likely not apply to people already in the U.S. The Optional Practical Training program that allows international students to work on their student visas may also be scaled back. The Wall Street Journal
Lawmakers are questioning Customs and Border Protection’s use of surveillance drones to observe protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and their use by other agencies elsewhere in the country. “Americans have a healthy fear of government surveillance that started at the founding of our country and has continued to modern times,” said the letter signed by lawmakers including Reps. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.) and Bobby Rush (D., Ill.). The Wall Street Journal
Democrats in Congress are asking the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general to investigate why officials were instructed to deny DACA recipients government-backed home loans. Thirteen Senate and 32 House Democrats signed the letter following earlier reports that revealed HUD officials made a policy change to exclude DACA recipients from home loans. BuzzFeed News
CBP violated the law when it spent money intended for migrant care on other equipment, according to an investigation by the U.S. Government Accountability Office released on Thursday. Associated Press