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Feinstein Statement on Attorney General’s Asylum Decision

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on Attorney General Barr’s decision to imprison asylum seekers who prove they have a “credible fear” of harm if they’re returned to their country of origin:

            “In 1939, hundreds of Jewish refugees fleeing war-torn Europe arrived on the shores of the United States for protection, only to be turned away. It was a shameful time for our country.

            “Since then, the United States has transformed into a beacon of liberty. Our asylum laws protect thousands of people every year, from women’s rights advocates who suffer violent abuse in Saudi Arabia and persecuted religious minorities in Iran to political dissidents from Cuba and tyrannized gays and lesbians from Uganda.

            “Now, Attorney General Barr wants to roll back much of the progress we’ve made over the last 80 years by changing DOJ policy to detain people who have proven they have a credible fear of persecution or torture.

            “Vulnerable individuals and families who face horrific conditions should be welcomed in our country, not turned away or locked up. Attorney General Barr’s decision will have a brutal effect on refugees, some of whom will now be detained for years before they have their day in court. This policy stands in sharp contrast to the due process protections enshrined in the Constitution.

            “I urge the attorney general to reconsider this decision. We cannot lose sight of who we are as a country as we address real immigration challenges.”