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Administration Publishes Interim Final Rule on Asylum Seekers

The Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Justice Department, has published an Interim Final Rule in the Federal Register essentially attempting to remove the ability to apply for asylum for those entering the US without inspection (those not applying for admission at a port of entry) where a presidential proclamation prohibits unlawful entry. It is expected that such a proclamation addressing unlawful entry at the southern border will be issued shortly.

The rule, which appears to be aimed at the current “caravan” of migrants making their way to the US (though this group is hardly unique among those who have come to the US from Central and South America in the past, the administration has been attempting to build this group into a major issue ahead of the recent midterm elections), also seeks to make changes to the asylum screening process. It is unclear whether the rule can survive judicial scrutiny.

The published interim final rule does not appear to attempt to restrict the ability to apply for asylum at ports of entry, or to be applicable to those who entered without inspection before the rule becomes effective.