Federal Judge Halts Expansion of Criminal Bars To Asylum

November 23, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: On Thursday, November 19, a federal judge temporarily halted the application of a new policy aimed at limiting the availability of asylum for some individuals that were convicted–or even suspected–of certain criminal activity.

The policy includes restrictions for people with misdemeanors, like having a false ID or having more than one DUI, and certain immigration offenses, like reentering the U.S. without permission. It also bars an individual from getting asylum if the government believes they were engaged in domestic violence or gang-related offenses.

If not for the judge’s decision, the proposed policy would have taken effect on November 20. However, a group of immigrant rights organizations are challenging this policy in federal court and won this temporary pause as part of their case. The organizations are Pangea Legal Services, Dolores Street Community Services, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (“CLINIC), and Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition. You can read more here.

The Court will hold a hearing on December 9 to analyze whether it will halt application of the policy for the duration of the lawsuit. For now, this new policy does not change whether someone can qualify for asylum. We will update this post with more information as it becomes available. You can read more about the judge’s decision to halt the policy in this news article.

For more information and resources from the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) visit our website.

Note: This information is for individuals seeking asylum in the United States and is not a substitute for advice from an attorney.