Dear Attorney General Barr, Director McHenry, Assistant Director Reid, Acting Secretary Wolf, Senior Official Mizelle, Senior Official Cuccinelli, Division Chief Dunn, and Administrator Ray:
While I am not stunned that each of you would react to President Trump’s likely departure from the White House by proposing radical, drastic and unnecessary changes to our, mostly, treaty compliant asylum rules, I am flabbergasted that you would use the excuse of an “emergency” to shorten the comment period to 30 days on such stunning, far reaching, and asylum destroying changes. You do know that the moment your shadows no longer darken the doorsteps of the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security that everyone of these changes will be reversed with the same speed and efficiency with which you have to sought to destroy the asylum system. Thus, I submit this comment to oppose the above-referenced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which would eviscerate the ability of countless men, women and children to obtain asylum in the United States. Shame on each of you. This disgraceful rule change will certainly be added to your epitaphs one day.
At least some of you are lawyers. You have studied our constitution, and the protections it calls for EVERYONE covered by our system of laws and regulations. Fundamental to the American system of justice is the guarantee of due process. Yet, by enacting this rule with rapidity and without any regard for the lives that it will cost, you are condemning tens of thousands of asylum seekers that most basic right to a fair day in court. This ludicrously give largely unprepared, untrained, and politically selected immigration judges and asylum officers far too much power to toss out, without counter arguments, requests for asylum as “frivolous,” and to deny applications without so much as a hearing. You do know, that this regulation will be the subject of immediate litigation if you foolishly move forward with making it a final rule, AND, it will be tied up in a preliminary injunction long after each of you are relegated to the ash heap of history. Eligibility for asylum is a complicated legal question, the impact of this rule would fall most harshly on unrepresented and uneducated asylum seekers, limiting asylum only to those with substantial financial means or lucky enough to obtain pro bono legal counsel.
Unbelievably, the new regulation also bans from asylum many people who submit their applications more than a year after arriving in the United States with no exceptions. What numbskull thought this up. There MUST be exceptions to the one year, as the STATUTE REQUIRES EXCEPTIONS. Literally, is there no one left in your Departments that can actually read? This provision explicitly violates provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act, passed by Congress. You also bar asylum to anyone who fails to report even one penny of income to the IRS, even unintentionally, by stripping them of their right to ever obtain asylum. Who, exactly, within the DOJ or DHS is going to be the “Tax Return Czar” that makes such meticulous determinations? You James? You Bill? Perhaps its @HomelandKen? Shame on each of you.
You have become so petty in your rule making that you seek to distinguish between an asylum seeker who flies to the United States with two or more layovers in different countries and an asylum seeker who flies to the United States with just one layover in a different country, making the former ineligible for asylum, while the latter would be eligible for asylum.
I can tell that some immigration judges who now populate the BIA had their hands in narrowing the grounds for asylum – including those based on gender and so-called “private criminal acts” such as domestic and gang violence, by making them, by regulation, no longer be recognized as viable claims. You do this despite generations of domestic and international law affirming that refugee status is available on those grounds. This alone will send this regulation directly into a TRO, and out the back side of the regulatory shredder. In case no one explained this to you in law school, you may not disregard these long- standing precedents to achieve the illegitimate goal of dismantling the asylum system, just because YOU, in your xenophobic, eugenistic mind, do not like them.
Simply put, this regulation makes a bald, open-faced, illegal attempt to completely dismantle nearly every aspect of our asylum laws that anti-immigrant groups (many of which are simply, purely racist) have sought to discredit and eliminate for years. And, while it is true that elections have consequences, they do not allow mere agencies to make laws, disregard statutes, and set aside international treaties. Worse, each of you should be ashamed of what you are attempting to do here. You are going to kill fellow human beings because of your callous racism, and you simply do not care. The proposed rule strikes at the very heart of our treaty-obliged, historic commitment to providing safe haven to people fleeing persecution and calls into question our integrity as a country. I will do everything in my power to see that these proposed rules never become the law of the land and will make sure that each of you carry the shame of proposing them around your neck, like Marley’s chains, through the rest of your lives. I pity each of you.
Charles H. Kuck
Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC