The Trump administration has revised training guidelines for asylum officers in ways that could make it harder for migrants seeking refuge in the United States to pass an initial screening. The revisions to a lesson plan used by hundreds of asylum officers suggest the Trump administration is finding new ways to narrow who can access asylum as bolder policy proposals with that same goal have been blocked by federals courts, said former government officials and immigration experts who reviewed the internal plan that was shared with Reuters. The changes could potentially lead to more denials and deportations before migrants’ full cases can be heard, they said.
Jessica Collins, a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which oversees asylum applications, said the agency periodically updates its training documents and that it processes all claims on a case-by-case basis. The lesson plan has been revised in 2006, 2014 and February 2017. The new version, dated April 30, goes into effect this month, USCIS said.