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State of Michigan

Nessel Joins Colleagues in Opposing Rule Restricting Asylum Access

Contact: Kelly Rossman-McKinney 517-335-7666
Agency: Attorney General

August 15, 2019

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today joined 21 other Attorneys General in opposing the Trump Administration’s attempt – via an interim final rule – to illegally limit access to the asylum process. Under the rule, individuals entering the United States at the southern border, except in limited circumstances, are no longer able to seek asylum unless they applied for and were denied protection in at least one country they traveled through before arriving in the United States.

In their letter, the Attorneys General urge the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to rescind the rule.   

“It’s impossible for us to truly know the trauma and peril facing many who seek asylum, nor can we always be sure of the roadblocks faced when requesting assistance in their home country,” said Nessel. “To create yet another hoop to jump through for individuals after risking their lives to make it to our country’s southern border is unacceptable.”

The Attorneys General maintain that among other things, the rule violates both the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the Administrative Procedure Act. Under the INA, any foreign national may apply for asylum upon their presence or arrival to the United States. These asylum protections were built on the principles of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which sought to mitigate some of the horrors visited upon refugees during and after World War II.

The INA identifies very specific circumstances under which an individual can be barred from asylum and provides protections for particularly vulnerable groups.

In promulgating the rule, the Trump Administration failed to provide adequate notice or articulate a reasoned explanation for the rule – a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. In addition, the rule will have a particularly negative effect on unaccompanied children, LGBTQ applicants, and women asylum-seekers, for whom applying for asylum in a third country is extremely dangerous. In fact, a federal court has already halted the rule’s initial implementation due to recognizing it is likely contrary to the law.

Nessel joins the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia in submitting this letter.

A copy of the letter is available here.


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