07/12/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/12/2018 21:48
Washington-Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the administration's unilateral rewrite of asylum law:
'People seeking refuge and asylum in the United States are among the most vulnerable in the world. They have endured war, domestic and sexual violence, persecution and torture-trauma that's difficult for most to comprehend. They are people like the Jewish refugees on the St. Louis who were turned away in 1939.
'The Trump administration last night announced a new policy memorandum in a blatant attempt to unilaterally rewrite asylum law and flout Congress's constitutional authority. This memorandum clearly demonstrates that the administration has no respect for laws passed by Congress. It also reiterates the president's hostility toward immigrants and those seeking to save their lives by applying for asylum, including victims of domestic violence.
'Congress has explicitly stated who is eligible to apply for and receive asylum in at least two sections of the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA). Through this policy memorandum, the administration is denying victims of domestic violence and those who do not enter the country at a point of entry from applying for asylum. Denying victims of domestic violence an opportunity to apply for asylum is immoral and denying those do not arrive at a port of entry appears to violate the law.
'The Trump administration appears to further flout the law by attempting to apply the same exclusions to the refugee program, which it has worked tirelessly to cripple. The administration laughably cited as authority a section of the INA that requires the administration make changes to the refugee program through the proper notice and comment process of issuing a regulation, not a policy memorandum. It leads a reasonable person to doubt whether administration officials read the law before writing this memorandum.
'The Trump administration is not above the law. The lack of respect for the rule of law and apparent vendetta against domestic violence victims should alarm members of Congress and the American people.'