Vox reports that “The Trump administration has pursued a vast regulatory agenda aimed at curbing asylum and other humanitarian protections for migrants arriving on the southern border. As part of a last-minute push, it issued a death blow to the system on December 11 with a sweeping final regulation that would bar huge swaths of asylum seekers from obtaining protection, including those who face persecution on the basis of gender and resistance to gang recruitment, and as victims of criminal coercion. Those targeted by international criminal gangs like MS-13 will therefore likely face a much narrower path to asylum under the rule.”
The Biden administration would have to issue new regulations to rescind any of the regulations Trump has finalized, including likely going through the burdensome process of giving the public notice and the opportunity to comment. It could also try to revise any regulations subject to ongoing litigation through a court settlement.
The Biden administration could also invoke the Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers to reverse regulations that were enacted in the last 60 working days of Congress, which extends back to March. However, using the act requires passing a joint resolution in both chambers of Congress, which could be difficult if Democrats don’t have control of the Senate.
If the regulations have yet to go into effect, the Biden administration could also delay their effective date by 60 days and then work to rescind them in the meantime.
Homeland Security defines refugee and asylee as follows: A refugee is a person outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. An asylee is a person who meets the definition of refugee and is already present in the United States or is seeking admission at a port of entry. Refugees are required to apply for Lawful Permanent Resident (“green card”) status one year after being admitted, and asylees may apply for green card status one year after their grant of asylum. This definition of refugee is the formal international definition (here).