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DNA Collection, Visa And Asylum Reforms: Here Are Immigration Reforms The Trump Administration Has Pushed

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Kaylee Greenlee Immigration and Extremism Reporter
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  • Under Trump administration reforms, individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. will be denied unless they previously sought protection from the country they are fleeing, with limited exceptions for those who can “establish a reasonable fear of persecution or torture.” 
  • The ACLU said the Trump Administration is attempting to “radically” change the immigration system by collecting DNA and other biometrics from immigrants. 
  • The DHS and DOJ also proposed a rule concerning unaccompanied minors that will allow for family units to be reportedly detained humanely while meeting goals set by the Flores Settlement Agreement. 

Reforms to the U.S. immigration and asylum system are on the cusp of being instituted, according to a White House immigration policy document obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Trump administration have pushed reforms concerning asylum, DNA collection, and the processing of unaccompanied minors to final stages before implementation, according to the document. Under these reforms, individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. will be denied unless they have sought protection from the country they are fleeing first.

“The Department of Justice and DHS [Department of Homeland Security] are adopting an interim final rule governing asylum claims in the context of aliens who enter or attempt to enter the United States across the southern border after failing to apply for protection from persecution or torture while in a third country through which they transited by land en route to the United States,” according to the document.

Limited exceptions for individuals who can “establish a reasonable fear of persecution or torture” will be made if illegal immigrants fail to apply for protection from the country they are fleeing, according to the document.

The DHS and DOJ proposed to amend existing regulations to include emergency public health concerns, such as pandemics, when considering asylum for an individual, according to the document. (RELATED: New Rules From Trump DHS Could Severely Restrict Foreign Student Visas)

“The proposed rule further would allow DHS to exercise its prosecutorial discretion regarding how to process individuals subject to expedited removal who are determined to be ineligible for asylum in the United States on certain grounds, including being reasonably regarded as a danger to the security of the United States,” the document said.

Regulations to increase accountability and decrease the fraudulent filing of asylum applications in order to obtain Employment Authorization Documents were proposed on Nov. 14, 2019, by the DHS, are now in the final rule stage, according to the document.

The DHS and DOJ also proposed doing away with a rule giving U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services only 30 days to respond to applications for employment authorization made by individuals seeking asylum, according to the document.

DNA collected from detainees who have been arrested, charged, or convicted by U.S. officials and are not U.S. citizens will be regulated by the Attorney General whereas the Department of Homeland Security previously decided whether collection was feasible due to operational or resource limitations, according to the document.

“The Trump administration is, once again, trying to radically change America’s immigration system,” Deputy Director of Immigration Policy for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Andrea Flores said in a statement on Sept. 1.

“Collecting a massive database of genetic blueprints won’t make us safer — it will simply make it easier for the government to surveil and target our communities and to bring us closer to a dystopian nightmare,” Flores added.

“Trump’s goal is clear: to shut down the legal immigration system and make immigration as difficult as possible.”

The DHS and DOJ also proposed a rule concerning the “apprehension, processing, care, and custody of alien minors and unaccompanied alien children,” where the departments reportedly developed a way to ensure that family units are detained humanely while satisfying the relevant goals of the Flores Settlement Agreement, according to the document.

ACLU lawyers have not been able to contact the parents of 545 migrant children who were separated from their parents during a 2017 pilot program instituted by the Trump administration, NBC News reported. Around 2,800 families were reportedly separated during the zero-tolerance policy in 2018.

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