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Interim final rule modifies existing regulations to implement the Asylum Cooperative Agreements

  1. Date Announced

    Nov. 19, 2019

    DOJ and DHS publish an interim final rule to implement Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACAs), which applies to individuals who arrive at a U.S. port of entry, or enter, or attempt to enter the U.S., between ports of entry, on or after November 19, 2019. The rule amends 8 C.F.R. § 208.30 by requiring asylum officers to determine whether the individual: is subject to one or more ACAs; falls within any exception to the applicable ACAs; and would more likely than not be persecuted on account of a protected asylum ground or tortured in the receiving country. If the asylum officer determines that the individual is not subject to an ACA; falls within an exception to each applicable ACA, or would more likely than not be persecuted on account of a protected ground or tortured in each of the prospective receiving countries, then the asylum officer will assess the merits of the credible fear claim as usual. This rule also amends 8 C.F.R. § 1003.42 requiring immigration judges to make determinations in the context of removal proceedings. The IFR was signed by Acting Secretary Wolf and AG Barr. [ID #116]

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    Nov. 19, 2019
  3. Subsequent Action

    January 15, 2020

    On January 15, 2020, the ACLU, National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and Human Rights First filed a new lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s policies that are resulting in asylum-seekers being sent to so-called “safe” third countries to apply for asylum rather than being allowed to file asylum claims in the U.S. The complaint alleges that the rule violates the INA’s safe third country provision, the withholding of removal statute, and the expedited removal statute, among other provisions. See U.T. v. Barr (D.D.C.1:20-cv-00116). Cross motions for summary judgment remain pending with the court as of Oct. 26, 2020.

    U.T. v. Barr Complaint
  4. Subsequent Action

    January 15, 2020

    For more information, see the U.T. v. Barr page at the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse.

    **Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**

    U.T. v. Barr - Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Type of Action: Rule
Agencies Affected: CBP USCIS EOIR DOS

Prior Policies

  • Section 8 U.S.C. 1158 authorizes the executive branch to enter into “bilateral or multilateral agreement[s]” for the removal of asylum seekers to third countries. Those agreements must satisfy two primary requirements: (1) the third country must provide access to “full and fair” asylum procedures; and (2) must be a place “in which the alien's life or freedom would not be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion."

    8 U.S. Code 1158

Subsequent Actions

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