April 26, 2021
IRLI urges agencies to finalize health protection at the border
WASHINGTON— In the waning days of the Trump administration, agencies proposed a rule recognizing that, because public health can be a matter of national security, those who pose a public health danger to the country are ineligible for asylum. Once in office, the Biden administration announced that it was delaying implementation of this new rule until the end of this year, and may rescind it altogether. In response, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has submitted a public comment showing why the rule should be adopted now.
In its comment, IRLI emphasizes that both United States law and international protocols recognize that national security takes precedence over affording refuge to asylum-seekers. Indeed, U.S. law explicitly bars asylum to those who pose a national security threat. IRLI also points out that the rule only applies to aliens with a disease officially recognized as a public health threat by federal authorities, and strikes the right balance between protecting foreign refugees and protecting the public health.
“Once again, even though health security is clearly part of national security, the Biden administration has proven that it doesn’t take public health seriously when it comes to the border,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “It is outrageous that if a dangerous pandemic disease originates from abroad, Biden will still grant asylum in the United States to aliens carrying that disease. Nothing but blind politics of a particularly perverse kind could motivate doing anything else than implementing the rule Trump proposed now, and we implore the administration to do just that, for the protection of all Americans.”
The comment is on Security Bars and Processing; Delay of Effective Date (86 Fed. Reg. 15069).
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