Chronic dysfunction in the U.S. asylum system reached its height in 2019 and has abated since, but the system continues to suffer from structural weaknesses and remains vulnerable to a resurgence of spurious cases.

Key points:

  • Since 2019, there has been salutary reform in tightening credible fear standards, but long overdue changes to the Flores Settlement Agreement and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act are still pending.
  • Executive branch measures to prevent abuse of the asylum system have been stymied by court challenges and adverse decisions, such as the striking down of the “first country” rule.
  • America’s asylum system has been at a standstill since most applicants are being turned away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but once state and local governments reopen society, the country will need protections against future waves of claims.