Statement on Proposed Asylum Policy


From Dictionary.com

Asylum
International  Law

  1. a refuge granted an alien by a sovereign state on its own territory.
  2. a temporary refuge granted political offenders, especially in a foreign embassy.

From the website of U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:
Race
Religion
Nationality
Membership in a particular social group
Political opinion

If you are eligible for asylum you may be permitted to remain in the United States. To apply for Asylum, file a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of your arrival to the United States. There is no fee to apply for asylum.

Dear Friends –

In yet one more move to have the United States reject the very foundations upon which this country was built, the Trump administration is seeking to impose fees on asylum seekers.  People who are fleeing persecution and danger in their homeland, who have left everything behind, and who are seeking respite in a country that has offered freedom and safety to those in need for centuries.

Think of how your own family came to America for the first time.  Perhaps it was on the Mayflower in 1620?  Or to escape the Irish potato famine or abject poverty in Italy?  Or to flee ethnic and religious persecution or the devastation of a homeland ravaged by war?  When your ancestors arrived here, do you think they could have paid fees to have their new life in the US considered?     

Additionally, the proposal from Washington seeks to deny temporary work permits to those seeking asylum.  So people who have left their homeland in fear, and with absolutely nothing, must now pay to seek that refuge. But at the same time, they will not be able to work to support themselves in the US.  At a time when many cities are actively seeking new employees, the administration wants to charge fees to asylum seekers and then deny their ability to work here and pay taxes!

LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL are not just pretty words– they are the pillars on which this country stands.  And this is especially true for the hurting and most vulnerable among us.  How can we possibly accept a system that will only offer sanctuary to those who can afford it?!

Seeking asylum has always been a right of both US and International law.  Virtually no other countries charge asylum seekers.  This proposal will surely be challenged and we will update you as the process continues and know that we can count on your support and action as needed. 

Sincerely,

Eva Hassett                 

Executive Director