Talking Points for Asylum Rule - We Welcome

Talking Points for Asylum Rule

While this list is not exhaustive, here are some points to consider as you write your comments. Think about which concerns matter the most to you, and that you would feel most comfortable writing about.

  • Asylum is a legal right under federal law: 8 USC § 1158 states, “Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including an alien who is brought to the United States after having been interdicted in international or United States waters), irrespective of such alien's status, may apply for asylum in accordance with this section or, where applicable, section 1225(b) of this title.”
  • Barring vulnerable asylum seekers from asylum if they do not apply through a port of entry violates this law. 
  • Barring asylum seekers who did not apply for asylum in a transit country also violates this law. Many of the transit countries are not safe for vulnerable populations for a variety of reasons. A similar rule implemented under the Trump administration was struck down by the courts in 2020.
  • Rather than trying to limit access to the asylum system, the administration should focus on creating legal pathways for people to seek to immigrate without making dangerous treks to the border, and surge personnel to provide more support to those processing asylum seekers at the border. 
    • Read further background information and suggestions here.

    • According to refugee admissions data from, the average admission of refugees from Latin America and the Caribbean from 2018-2022 was 1,119 per year. Despite changing country conditions and multiple years of large-scale displacement in this region, it remains largely underrepresented in our refugee admissions program. The administration should expand access to refugee resettlement so that more people from this region can seek protection closer to their home countries without traveling thousands of miles by foot through very dangerous regions to reach the US border.

    • The administration should work with Congress to increase availability for those who wish to immigrate legally through employment or family-based visas. Many of the caps on visa availability have been in place since the 1990’s and don’t meet current needs. If more people were able to immigrate legally with a visa, fewer people would feel like their only option is an irregular border crossing.

  • Requiring asylum seekers to apply through the CBP Mobile One app places a hardship on them. There have been many reports of issues using this application, including poor connectivity, application crashes, and failure to register the faces of those with darker skin. The app also only appears to be available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole, and error messages are reportedly showing in English. This creates a significant barrier for usage. It does not seem reasonable to rely on this app as the main entry point for those seeking asylum until it is working more reliably.

  • Forcing people to wait in Mexico for an appointment through an app subjects them to danger.

    • The nonprofit Human Rights First has tracked at least 13,480 reports of “murder, kidnapping, rape, and other violent attacks on migrants and asylum seekers blocked in or expelled to Mexico under Title 42 since President Biden took office.” While asylum seekers are delayed from making their claims, they face serious danger in Mexico. We already have the data showing this is true, and it is reasonable to expect more violence against asylum seekers as they are forced to wait for extended periods of time to get an appointment through an app that continues to have issues. 

    • There are several regions in Mexico that are classified by our State Department among the most dangerous places to travel, and are marked “do not travel” for US citizens. Included among those regions is Tamaulipas state, where many asylum seekers wait as they seek to enter the US.

Suggested actions to include in the comments

Don’t forget to list what actions you want the administration to take in response to your concerns. Some examples could be:

  • I urge the administration to reconsider this proposed rule, and replace it with a framework that supports our asylum laws rather than placing new restrictions that go beyond the law.

  • I request that this rule either be withdrawn or edited to address the concerns listed above.

  • Instead of moving forward with this rule, I would request that the Biden administration strengthen our refugee resettlement program, work to expand other legal immigration pathways, and surge support for personnel managing these asylum claims. Rather than trying to prevent asylum claims from being made, we must put systems in place to effectively process those claims.


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