Friday, February 19, 2021

Ending the 1-Year Asylum Deadline in the Proposed U.S. Citizenship Act

Section 4301 of the proposed U.S. Citizenship Act (pages 285-287) is entitled "Elimination of Time Limits on Asylum Applications." This is another one of the changes that the Biden administration previewed in January

The Act would strike INA 208(a)(2)(B), which current reads:

Subject to subparagraph (D), paragraph (1) shall not apply to an alien unless the alien demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the application has been filed within 1 year after the date of the alien’s arrival in the United States.

It would also strike INA 208(a)(2)(D), which currently reads:

An application for asylum of an alien may be considered, notwithstanding subparagraphs (B) and (C), if the alien demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Attorney General either the existence of changed circumstances which materially affect the applicant’s eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing an application within the period specified in subparagraph (B).

Section 4301 would also amend what is now 208(a)(2)(C), such that applicants who previously applied for asylum and lost could have a new application considered if "changed circumstances... materially affect the noncitizen's eligibility for asylum."

Finally, Section 4301 provides a new ground for filing motions to reopen, allowing reconsideration of asylum claims where the prospective asylee  (1) was denied for failure to meet the prior 1-year filing deadline; (2) was granted withholding; (3) hasn't achieved LPR status through some other means; (4) isn't subject to the safe third country exception under 208(a)(2)(A) nor an asylum bar under 208(b)(2); (5) wasn't subject to a discretionary denial. This relief would be available for 2 years following the enactment of the new legislation.


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