New Rules on Asylum and Foreign Students

Press Releases

October 26, 2020

IRLI supports making processes more efficient

WASHINGTON—In two public comments submitted last week, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) voiced its approval of two new Trump administration rules. One revamps asylum procedures in a way likely to lessen the number of meritless claims, and the other resets the duration of foreign-student visas.

Needless to say, both rules have their critics on the anti-borders left. But, as IRLI point out in the comment on the asylum rule, it increases both fairness and efficiency to put the burden of submitting complete and correct immigration-benefit applications on the applicant, not the immigration judge. Until now, immigration judges have been responsible for determining whether applications are complete, and have to mail them back to applicants within 30 days, or else the applications will be deemed complete. The new rule, which puts the responsibility of filing a complete application on the applicants, and gives them 30 days after filing to correct any deficiencies, will result in shorter adjudication times and more complete records for immigration judges to review than currently.

Critics of the new foreign student rule have charged that limiting foreign student visas to four years for Ph.D. students does not provide enough time for them to complete their degrees, because the average time to complete a Ph.D. has risen to seven years in the United States. IRLI points out that this criticism rests on a misunderstanding. American Ph.D. students often delay completing their degrees because they can defer their student loans while still enrolled, thus avoiding the burden of loan repayment while they work as adjunct professors for low pay and search for elusive permanent teaching jobs in their fields. These considerations affect foreign students much less, because they usually are eligible neither for federally-backed student loans nor for tenure-track jobs at American universities.

“These proposals are both commonsense and long-overdue,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Rules created by prior administrations that gum up the system and favor the interests of aliens over those of Americans are littered throughout immigration regulations. We are pleased that the Trump administration is making a strong effort to correct these systemic problems, and that effort will continue.”

The rules are EOIR Docket No. 19-0010: Procedures for Asylum Withholding and Removal (85 Fed. Reg. 59692), and ICEB–2019–0006: Establishing a Fixed Time Period of Admission and an Extension of Stay Procedure for Nonimmigrant Academic Students, Exchange Visitors, and Representatives of Foreign Information Media (85 Fed. Reg. 60,526–598).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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