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National Immigration Project Condemns Biden Administration’s Latest Assault on Asylum Seekers

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Posted: May. 10, 2024

For Immediate Release
May 10, 2024

Arianna Alston-Rosales,

Washington, DC – Yesterday the Biden Administration announced that it will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which would prevent those subject to the rule from ever having a day in court on their asylum claims. The “Mandatory Bars in Fear Screenings” rule would allow Asylum Officers to apply certain public safety bars during preliminary border screenings, which often occur within days of arrival by the asylum seeker and before they have any opportunity to consult with counsel. Asylum Officers would apply complex and ever-changing legal concepts, such as whether there are “serious reasons to believe” the applicant committed a “serious nonpolitical crime” in their country, in an accelerated, telephonic interview. The rule also allows Asylum Officers to deny fear claims based on “national security” bars without explaining what evidence the Officers would use for making these determinations. 

Officers would be given discretion on whether or not to apply the bars during the initial screening interview, raising concerns that citizens of specific countries or regions, such as the Middle East and Africa, will be targeted for enhanced screenings. 

In response to the rule, Victoria Neilson, Supervising Attorney at the National Immigration Project, said: 

“The Biden administration is engaging in political theater, trying to look tough on the border, while endangering the lives of asylum seekers who will never have the opportunity to present their full case for protection. By relying on flawed notions of ‘public safety’ and ‘national security,’ this rule leaves the door wide open for the targeting of BIPOC and Middle Eastern individuals–a hateful pattern we have seen play out time and time again. Put simply, this convoluted rule will make fear screenings longer and result in unfair denials. As we approach the election, the Biden administration is increasingly embracing failed Trump-era policies–policies that the electorate soundly rejected four years ago. We urge the Biden administration to live up to its promise to welcome people with dignity and respect.”


The National Immigration Project (NIPNLG) is a membership organization of attorneys, advocates, and community members who are driven by the belief that all people should be treated with dignity, live freely, and flourish. We litigate, advocate, educate, and build bridges across movements to ensure that those most impacted by the immigration and criminal systems are uplifted and supported. Learn more at Follow NIPNLG on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @NIPNLG.