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Trump Assaults American Values as He and Stephen Miller Take a Flamethrower to the Asylum System

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“This is a scorched earth policy with Trump and Miller determined to do as much damage as possible on their way out.”


Yesterday, the Trump administration introduced sweeping restrictions to asylum. The intended outcome is to make it virtually impossible for human beings to be granted refuge from persecution in the United States. This is yet another in a long series of unilateral administration policies to dismantle asylum as an expression of American values and global leadership.

Referencing the previous attempts to curtail asylum, immigration policy expert Greg Chen of the American Immigration Lawyers Association said, “It will short circuit due process in countless ways to make it faster and easier to deport asylum seekers effectively denying them a fair day in court.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, America joined with allies to construct a global refugee protection system to ensure ‘Never Again.’ The commitment of a civilizing world: those fleeing persecution and seeking safety should be rescued and protected, not turned down and sent back. An ad hoc approach to refugee protection was formalized into a coherent and comprehensive approach when Congress enacted the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980. The legislation codified our human rights obligations to those fleeing for their lives. 

Now, Trump and Stephen Miller are systematically and relentlessly destroying this manifestation of American values. This is a scorched earth policy with Trump and Miller determined to do as much damage as possible on their way out. In keeping with their authoritarianism, they are doing so by executive fiat, ignoring the Constitutional role of Congress in enacting and revising asylum’s statutory framework.

These two have assaulted American values in so many ways that, at times, our capacity for outrage is exhausted. In fact, that is their aim: to wear us down so that the radical becomes normalized. We need to be stronger and more relentless. We need to dedicate ourselves to a de-trumpification process that reverses such injustices. We need to fight to forge an America that upholds its ideals. We need to build anew institutions and policies that achieve our country.