Beginning today, September 23, 2020, asylum seekers are not allowed to bring their own interpreters if they speak one of 47 languages specified in the regulation. Those languages include: Akan, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Burmese, Cantonese, Creole/Haitian Creole, Farsi-Afghani/Dari, Farsi-Iranian, Foo Chow/Fuzhou, French, Georgian, Gujarati, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesia/Bahasa, Konjobal, Korean, Kurdish, Lingala, Mam, Mandarin, Nepali, Pashto/Pushtu, Portuguese, Punjabi, Quiche/K’iche, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhalese, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Tigrinya, Turkish, Twi, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, or Vietnamese. Although the justification for this rule is to minimize exposure due to COVID, this puts asylum seekers at a distinct disadvantage because they may not be able to fully understand the interpreter the government provides thus leading to miscommunications and questioning the applicant’s credibility which is essential for all asylum seekers. The administration enacted this rule for 180 days without the opportunity for the public to comment as to the rule’s potential effects on asylum seekers’ ability to communicate effectively through interpreters during their interviews.
Another proposed rule that does allow for public comment and won’t take effect immediately has to do with deadlines for filing asylum applications with the immigration court and other restrictions that put asylum seekers without an attorney at a distinct disadvantage. The changes include:
In the days leading up to the election, we only anticipate even more and harsher restrictions to the ability to claim asylum in this country. If you or someone you know has an asylum claim or case, call Joseph and Hall to make sure that the claim is not wrongfully denied based on these unfair rules.
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