(Scott McClallen) – Twelve attorneys general are urging the federal government to ensure access to asylum as the immigration program known as Title 42 will end in May.
The coalition says the current asylum proposed rule is inconsistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act and could potentially harm already asylum seekers and the states that welcome them.
“Our desire is to avoid, or at least mitigate, this potential harm, and to ensure that the Nation’s treaty obligations and the fundamental human right to seek asylum in the United States are respected,” the group wrote in a letter.
In the comment letter, the coalition urges the federal government to continue to explore commonsense solutions to protect access to asylum.
“Making the asylum process more difficult is not how we should be treating refugees arriving on our borders,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. “Those who flee violent or oppressive nations are trying to arrive in a safe place as expeditiously as possible. Their eligibility for asylum should not be dependent on the routes they take to achieve that safety. Asylees can be successfully integrated into our state workforces and can make significant contributions to businesses during this time of labor shortages. They should not face increased barriers in trying to do so. In 2022 alone, Michigan was one of the top four states in refugees resettled nationwide after California, Texas, and New York. I stand firmly with my colleagues in asking DOJ and DHS to preserve the right-to-asylum provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”
Under the current proposed rule, the federal government, in light of an anticipated increase in border asylum claims when Title 42 is set to end on May 11, 2023, would largely require migrants to follow the rules specified pathways to secure protection in the United States.
The coalition says the federal government is proposing restrictive standards in place for those seeking asylum. For instance, individuals entering the United States at the southern border, except in limited circumstances, would be presumptively ineligible for asylum unless they applied for and were denied protection in at least one country that they transited through before their arrival, or used the Customs and Border Patrol online application to make an appointment to present themselves to immigration officials.
In the comment letter, the coalition says:
- Provisions of the current proposal conflict with the more expansive protections guaranteed under the Immigration and Nationality Act;
- If asylum is improperly restricted, it will limit the ability of asylum seekers to integrate into state workforces and potentially strain state-funded services; and
- The proposed rule would unfairly harm many asylum seekers, particularly those with fewer resources.
In filing the comment letter, Nessel is joined by the attorneys general of California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.