Trump Issues Memo Calling for Tougher Path for Asylum Seekers


On April 29, 2019, the White House issued a memo for the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security with the subject of "Additional Measures to Enhance Border Security and Restore Integrity of Our Immigration System." These regulations could make it more difficult for immigrants seeking asylum as they limit their ability to be self sustaining during the asylum application process.

Not only would these regulations impose fees for the asylum application and employment authorization application, but for those that entered illegally, it would also bar them from receiving employment authorization during the asylum process. Asylum seekers with school age children could potentially be negatively impacted by the changes outlined in these proposed regulations.

Section 1 of the memo indicates that the "purpose of this memorandum is to strengthen asylum procedures to safeguard our system against rampant abuse of our asylum process."

The memo calls for the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security to propose a set of regulations related to the asylum process. The memo cites Trump's declaration of a national emergency and the humanitarian crisis at the southern border as the backdrop for the motivations for calling for these regulations. The regulations would include:

  • Regulations to speed up the asylum process, including a 180-day timeline for asylum petitions to appear before an immigration judge
  • Regulations to set a fee for an asylum application and a fee for an initial application for employment authorization while an asylum claim is pending
  • Regulations to bar asylum seekers who entered or attempted to enter the U.S. unlawfully from receiving employment authorization before being granted asylum and to the revocation of employment authorization for those denied asylum

The memo also calls for the reassignment of immigration officers and any other employees to improve the integrity of asylum claims, as well as strengthen enforcement and ensure compliance with immigration laws.


Dr. David Holbrook

About The Author

Dr. David Holbrook is a nationally recognized leader in federal programs administration and monitoring with expertise in Title I, Title III, Native American Education, and Federal Programs. Dr. Holbrook has also worked as a consultant with Title III of the US Department of Education and now serves as Executive Director, Federal Compliance and State Relationships with TransAct.