Within immigration law, asylum seekers are one of the most vulnerable populations. In order to qualify for asylum, applicants must demonstrate a “credible fear of persecution or torture.” A new proposed rule would make the asylum process significantly more difficult, allowing denials to be issued without a right to have immigration case heard in court. It would also change the standard for “credible fear of persecution or torture,” making an approval almost impossible for those immigrants seeking protection based on being victims of domestic violence, gender-based discrimination, or gang-related violence. The changes also make the process more challenging, allowing the government to put more weight on discretionary factors. These measures would end the possibility of asylum for thousands of immigrants escaping unspeakable harm and violence in their home countries.
In addition, the government just published their Final Rule on employment authorization eligibility for immigrants with pending asylum applications. Under the old rules, applicants would request an employment authorization document once their case was pending for 150 days. The new rule increases the waiting period from 150 to 365 days before the applicant can request a work permit. The new rule also limits the employment authorization to two years, and bans immigrants who entered the country illegally from obtaining the work permit, among other changes.