Current Developments Public Health as Pretext : the Evisceration of Asylum Law and Protections During a Pandemic

Published date01 October 2020
Date01 October 2020
CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS
PUBLIC HEALTH AS PRETEXT: THE
EVISCERATION OF ASYLUM LAW AND
PROTECTIONS DURING A PANDEMIC
PRASHASTI BHATNAGAR*
As the United States continues to grapple with the devastation and grief
caused by COVID-19,
1
asylum-seekers and refugees are forced to navi-
gate the havoc of COVID-19 alongside aggressive attacks on asylum law
by President Donald Trump’s administration.
2
During this pandemic, the
Administration proposed to: categorically deny asylum claims arising out
of gender violence;
3
allow immigration judges to deny asylum-seekers
due process rights such as court hearings and testimony presentation;
4
and impose an exorbitant fee of $975 on immigration-related appeals.
5
The Administration also arbitrarily denied Employment Authorization
Documents (EADs) to asylum-seekers;
6
indefinitely closed the U.S.
border, expelling more than 100,000 people (including over 2,000
* Prashasti Bhatnagar, JD-MPH Candidate, 2022, Georgetown University Law Center and Johns
Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; B.S. Sociology, summa cum laude, 2018, University of
Minnesota Twin Cities. © 2021, Prashasti Bhatnagar.
1. See, e.g., Proclamation No. 9994, 85 Fed. Reg. 15,337 (Mar. 13, 2020) (declaring a national emer-
gency because of COVID-19); COVID-19’s Historic Economic Impact, in the U.S. and Abroad, JOHNS
HOPKINS UNIV. (Apr. 16, 2020), https://hub.jhu.edu/2020/04/16/coronavirus-impact-on-european-
american-economies/; Denise Lu, The True Coronavirus Toll in the U.S. has Already Surpassed 200,000,
N.Y. TIMES (Aug. 12, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/08/12/us/covid-deaths-us.html.
2. See, e.g., Asylum Seekers & Refugees, NATL IMMIGR. JUST. CTR., https://immigrantjustice.org/
issues/asylum-seekers-refugees (last visited Sept. 14, 2020).
3. Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal; Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Review,
85 Fed. Reg. 36,264 (proposed on Jun. 15, 2020) (to be codified at 8 C.F.R. pt. 208, 235, 1003, 1208,
1235).
4. Id.
5. Executive Office for Immigration Review; Fee Review, 85 Fed. Reg. 11,866 (proposed on Feb.
28, 2020) (to be codified at 8 C.F.R. pt. 1003, 1103, 1208, 1216, 1235, 1240, 1244, 1245).
6. Asylum Application, Interview, and Employment Authorization for Applicants, 85 Fed. Reg.
38,532 (Aug. 25, 2020) (codified at 8 C.F.R. pt. 208, 274).
317

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT