LGBTQ advocates are suing Trump administration over strict new asylum rules


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SAN DIEGO (Border Report) – New rules for asylum seekers due to come into effect on January 11th are likely to make the process particularly difficult for LGBTQ refugees.

Refugees must prove that they are being persecuted or prosecuted by their governments or any government agency solely on the basis of their identity.

Some say this will be almost impossible.

“The Trump administration pretends to obey the law, but it actually changes the rules,” said Jennifer Pizer, an attorney at Lambda Legal. “The new rules say that this has to be done by the government or by officials who work like the police, who act at the discretion of the government to prosecute in court, that’s ridiculous.”

Pizer says her company, which works for the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV, has filed a lawsuit to prevent the application of these new rules.

“Together with the Co-Council on Immigration Equality, we are suing the Trump administration today to try to stop the implementation of these rules,” said Pizer. “These rule changes are another example of trying to slam and lock the doors against US law, so we’re suing.”

The new rules were proposed in June. And if the courts don’t step in, they’ll go into effect nine days before President Trump’s departure.

The government has banned asylum seekers for a variety of reasons, including “saving jobs for American workers” and “preventing the spread of COVID-19”.

Jennifer Pfizer is an attorney at Lambda Legal. (Salvador Rivera / border report)

Other provisions include:

  • Make it harder to pass the “credible fear” test at the border.
  • Allow immigration judges to deny asylum without a hearing.
  • The definition of key terms such as “political opinion”, “persecution” and “special social group” is severely restricted.
  • Asylum ban for people who have traveled through more than one country en route to the United States
  • Limiting the types of evidence asylum seekers can produce.
  • Allowing immigration judges to label many more asylum applications as “frivolous” – which has serious negative consequences for people seeking other immigration protection measures.
  • Limitation of the right to protection for fear of torture.

Many refugees had to wait for the asylum procedure in Mexico or were sent to their country of origin.

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