Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) submitted the following comments regarding proposed revisions to the Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, published in connection with the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Review, at 85 Fed. Reg. 36264 (June 15, 2020). KIND objects to the proposed revisions (herein, the “Proposed Form” and “Proposed Instructions”) on the following grounds that the revisions:
- Make the instructions and form less accessible for applicants, particularly those who are unrepresented;
- Fail to elicit information in a manner that is neutral and unbiased; and require applicants to draw numerous legal conclusions and engage in speculation about matters outside their immediate knowledge or control;
- Create the impression that asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture is virtually impossible to obtain, and create numerous obstacles that are likely to discourage or deter applicants from starting or completing an application;
- Encourage the disclosure of information that contributes to adverse discretionary decisions without providing equal opportunity to disclose positive information, and.
- Impose a significant burden on the public far in excess of the government’s estimate that 18 hours are required to complete the form.
These factors will have particularly adverse consequences for the unaccompanied children we serve. We therefore ask that the Proposed Instructions and Proposed Form be withdrawn.