Asylum Official Demoted As Trump Escalates Efforts To Make Cuts To Program

Dusk falls over a section of the U.S.-Mexico border fence. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
September 5, 2019 8:45 a.m.

The head of the asylum division at the Citizenship and Immigration Services agency will be reassigned to work as the deputy director of a processing center in Arlington, Virginia, Politico reported.

According to an inter-agency email and five current and former Department of Homeland Security officials who spoke to Politico, Asylum Division Chief John Lafferty will be moved to the processing center beginning next week. The White House reportedly blames Lafferty for not tightening standards for receiving asylum, a current DHS official told Politico.

In an email obtained by BuzzFeed earlier this summer, Lafferty’s complained about Trump’s penchant for disorderly policy implementation and took specific issue with the administration’s plan to ban asylum seekers who don’t try to claim asylum in another country first before coming to the U.S.

Lafferty, who was in charge of the asylum division for six years, will be replaced by Andrew Davidson, who is currently the deputy associate director of the department’s fraud detection and national security division.

Trump is convinced that migrants who seek asylum are taking advantage of the system to stay in the U.S. and work legally. His administration has worked to try to ban asylum seekers from Central America who don’t first seek refuge in Mexico. The administration has also instated policies that require migrants to stay in Mexico while they wait for a ruling on their asylum claim and it’s cut down what qualifies as a “credible fear” for asylum.

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