The Department of Homeland Security has proposed seven new bars to asylum in addition to those already existing (e.g., serious crimes, security threats, terrorism, etc.) under the Immigration and Naturalization Act. The proposed rule would bar asylum for aliens who are convicted of:
- A felony under federal or state law;
- An offense related to alien smuggling or harboring;
- An offense involving illegal reentry;
- A Federal, state, tribal, or local crime involving criminal street gang activity;
- Certain Federal, state, tribal, or local offenses concerning the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant;
- A Federal, state, tribal, or local domestic violence offense, or those who are found by an adjudicator to have engaged in acts of battery or extreme cruelty in a domestic context, even if no conviction resulted; and
- Certain misdemeanors under Federal or state law for offenses related to false identification, the unlawful receipt of public benefits from a Federal, state, tribal, or local entity, or the possession or trafficking of a controlled substance or controlled-substance paraphernalia.
The proposed rule not only adds to the list of offenses, it would also remove the requirement to conduct a second review in cases where an immigration judge issues a discretionary denial of the application. The net result of the rule, if it goes into effect, will be fewer aliens with criminal records being eligible for asylum. Comments on the rule are due January 21, 2020, so stand-by for further updates.