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New DHS rule may make winning asylum more difficult

The U.S. has long been a beacon of hope for persecuted individuals from other countries. Those who have faced persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group may typically request asylum in the U.S. A well-founded fear of future persecution may also qualify.

A new rule from the Department of Homeland Security may make winning asylum more difficult. Specifically, the rule adds to the list of disqualifying criminal offenses and other conduct.

The criminal conduct bar to asylum

Even before the new DHS rule, U.S. immigration law prevented individuals with convictions for particularly serious crimes from seeking asylum in the country. With the latest rule, the list of exclusionary criminal convictions expands to include even seemingly minor conduct.

Possessing a fake ID

Pursuant to the new regulation, possessing a fake ID may now render a person ineligible for asylum in the U.S. This may affect some asylum applicants more than others, as persecuted individuals in certain regions often must obtain fraudulent identification cards to disguise their identities or to secure travel to a safer place.

Illegally obtaining public benefits

Public benefits may be necessary for those who arrive in the U.S. with few assets. Under the new DHS rule, though, illegally obtaining public benefits is a bar to asylum. Consequently, if a person uses fake documents or makes fraudulent statements to secure government financial help, he or she may no longer be eligible for asylum.

Engaging in other types of impermissible conduct

The new DHS rule does not only include prohibitions against possessing a fake ID and illegally obtaining government benefits. Certain drug offenses and other types of criminal conduct and impermissible behavior may also leave a person ineligible for receiving asylum in the U.S.