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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul
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October 15, 2019


Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with a collation of 22 attorneys general, today opposed the federal government’s rule illegally limiting access to the asylum process. Under the rule, individuals entering the United States at the southern border, except in limited circumstances, are no longer able to seek asylum unless they applied for and were denied protection in at least one country they transited through prior to their arrival.

In an amicus brief filed in support of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union in East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr, Raoul and the coalition urge the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to uphold the district court’s preliminary injunction against the asylum rule.

“The federal government’s efforts to essentially end asylum at our southern border are cruel and inhumane,” Raoul said. “Closing our borders to people seeking refuge in our country, including children, goes against our American values. I am committed to fighting this illegal rule and protecting asylum-seekers residing in Illinois and across the country from unnecessary trauma and hardship.”

In the brief, Raoul and the coalition maintain that the rule significantly departs from core values enshrined in federal law and harms asylum-seekers and the states that welcome them. The rule forces asylum-seekers to go through what would likely amount to a fruitless asylum process in a potentially dangerous third country to even have a chance of being eligible for asylum in the United States. This unnecessarily subjects asylum-seekers to peril and trauma throughout the process and could encourage people to attempt risky journeys to enter the United States undetected in an effort to flee persecution.

Additionally, the rule will have a particularly negative effect on unaccompanied children, LGBTQ applicants, and women asylum-seekers, for whom applying for asylum in a third country is extremely dangerous.

The rule will also cause state agencies and non-profits to divert resources to address the added trauma asylum-seekers will suffer because of precarious conditions the countries where they will be forced to apply for asylum before seeking asylum in the United States. Additionally, the rule will cause states to lose out on the economic contributions of those who might otherwise have been welcomed to the United States. Finally, in promulgating the rule, the Trump Administration failed to provide adequate notice, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Joining Raoul in the amicus brief are the attorneys general of California, Massachusetts, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.


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