Human Rights First Statement on New Proposed Rule to Stop Refugees from Working

Human Rights First’s senior director for refugee protection, Eleanor Acer, made the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s new proposed rule, out today, which would bar asylum-seekers from legally working to support themselves and their families in the United States while they wait for their cases to be adjudicated:

If it goes into effect, this proposed rule will prevent asylum-seekers from working to feed and support their families while their cases sit in U.S. government adjudication backlogs. This is yet another Trump administration move aimed at inflicting pain on people seeking U.S. refugee protection – in this case apparently to leave them starving and homeless. Many of Human Rights First’s refugee clients are already suffering while they wait six months before they can apply for work authorization.

The proposed rule wrongly seeks to penalize asylum-seekers who have crossed the border between ports of entry, despite Article 31 of the Refugee Convention. It also purports to block work authorization from refugees who applied for asylum over a year after entering the country – even though many refugees do not speak English, and are unaware of the technical filing requirements of U.S. law. This represents yet another attempt by this administration to punish people for seeking refugee protection in the United States.”

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