Washington—Representatives Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security; and Jerrold L. Nadler, Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, today issued the following statement calling on the Trump Administration to explain the legality of the decision to suspend the rights of asylum seekers in the United States:
“We understand that certain restrictions for the public health are necessary to address the coronavirus crisis. But those measures must be legal and they must reflect our values. A great nation like the United States must be able to protect both the health of its people and the health of its democracy, which starts with upholding the rule of law.
“After weeks of requests, Administration lawyers haven’t been able to offer any legal justification for suspending the right to seek asylum. Our attempts to get answers have been stonewalled by bogus claims of privilege or the outrageous explanation that they’re still determining the rationale for a policy that’s already in place. That’s not how democracy works. If the President’s actions are legal, he should be able to explain why, especially to Congress. And if he cannot, then he must cease those actions and come to Congress to seek authority.
“If the Administration believes its actions are lawful, it must explain why publicly. If it refuses to do so, the Committees will consider further responses to ensure that the Administration is not acting illegally and trying to exploit this public health crisis to pursue its radical immigration agenda.”
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