Press Release


CONTACT: Bilal Askaryar | | 646-899-9722

Proposals to Indefinitely Restrict Asylum are Out of Touch with 73% of Americans Who Support Asylum, New Poll Finds

“As Senators Sinema and Tillis propose extending Title 42 for another year to curtail asylum rights, the American people are clear that protecting people fleeing violence and oppression remains an enduring value that the majority of Americans support.”

Listen to experts discuss the findings and the proposals before Congress here.

WashingtonNearly three-quarters of Americans (73.4%) agree that the United States should provide access to the U.S. asylum system to people fleeing persecution and/or violence, according to a new poll conducted by the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at the University of California, San Diego and released Tuesday by the #WelcomeWithDignity asylum rights campaign. The poll of 1,000 Americans found majority support across the political spectrum, with 87% of Democrats, 74% of Independents, and 57% of Republicans expressing support for asylum.

“As reports indicate Congress is considering a draft framework that includes a shocking proposal to extend Title 42 for another year and additional proposals that would indefinitely curtail asylum rights, the American people are clear that protecting people fleeing violence and oppression remains an enduring value that the majority of us supports,” said Bilal Askaryar, Communications Manager for the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign. “Despite relentless press attention and political attacks on maintaining our commitment to protecting those seeking safety on our shores, this poll taken after election day should signal to politicians that efforts to further curtail asylum and block access to our legal system are not popular with their constituents.”

The poll of 1,039 Americans was conducted Nov. 10-14 by principal investigator Tom Wong of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at the University of California, San Diego. He wrote in a memo summarizing the findings:

Across both parties, an overwhelming majority supports investing more resources in building an asylum system that is fair, fast, and accurate. In the full sample of Americans, 82% strongly or somewhat support greater investment, with a plurality of Americans (40%) expressing strong support. 89% of Democrats, 71% of Republicans, and 84% of Independents either strongly support or somewhat support. In fact, among Republicans, three-in-ten (29%) strongly support and four-in-ten (42%) somewhat support greater investment in a “fair, fast, and accurate” asylum system.

“Our nation is at its best when we live up to our ideals, and we can do so without trading one group for another like Senators Sinema and Tillis propose,” said Askaryar. “We need to get past the blanket bans on people asking for asylum like Title 42 and other Trump-era policies that have been shamefully continued into the Biden years, because we know they put people in danger. We must turn the page on Stephen Miller’s failed and racist playbook.  The American people want President Biden to invest in the infrastructure to evaluate asylum claims fairly and support people through the legal process in an equitable and dignified manner.”

“With the end of Title 42 fast approaching, the Biden administration has an opportunity to finally bring our country back into alignment with its longstanding legal and moral obligations to refugees,” said Karen Musalo, Director of the Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “But in recent days, troubling reports have emerged of policy proposals under consideration by the White House and on Capitol Hill that could extend Title 42 or impose additional barriers to asylum. At this critical moment, we urge our leaders to reject such proposals and ensure Title 42 ends on December 21 as planned. Communities at the border and across the country are eager to welcome people seeking asylum. Our elected officials should match their compassion.”

“Human Rights First applauds any Congressional action to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers but we urge Senators to firmly reject any deal that would premise such protection on stripping refugees seeking asylum of their right to protection,” said Robyn Barnard, Associate Director of Refugee Advocacy, Human Rights First. “Our leaders should act urgently to protect those with long-standing ties to the United States while holding true to our values and respecting the human rights of refugees embedded in U.S. law and our international treaty obligations. Any legislative efforts to create a new asylum ban to mimic the Title 42 expulsion policy, or other harsh restrictions on access to the U.S. asylum system, must be abandoned.”

“The right to seek asylum is a fundamental part of U.S. values and identity,” said Conchita Cruz, Co-Executive Director at the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP). “Dismantling what’s left of the asylum system at the border should not be the final legacy of this majority Democratic congress. The proposals to extend Title 42 or recycle other Trump-era policies have no place in any legislative package before Congress. Now is the time to make good on promises to restore the right to seek asylum and to create pathways to citizenship for Dreamers and other immigrants.”

“Lawmakers are long overdue to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers — but it must not come at the expense of others in need of protection,” said Kimiko Hirota, policy advisor for the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “Congress should finally deliver a solution for Dreamers AND support a fair, humane asylum system. Any proposal that would deny people their right to seek asylum is a non-starter.”

“The Florence Project applauds Congressional action to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers,” said Laura St. John, Legal Director at the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project. “Dreamers are integral members of our communities, and it is long past time for Congress to act to protect them. However, we resoundingly reject the premise that protections for Dreamers must come at the expense of protections for those fleeing persecution and seeking safety in the United States. The proposed framework would extend the dangerous Title 42 border closure and, in an attempt to further ‘streamline’ already expedited deportation procedures, this proposal will eliminate essentially all access to counsel and leave only a facade of due process in a system stacked against asylum seekers. Just as our values call on us to protect Dreamers as members of our communities, they also demand that we not turn our backs on those fleeing violence but welcome them with dignity and justice.” 

“CWS urges Congress to immediately pass a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and all of our immigrant neighbors, without undermining protections for other vulnerable populations. The extension of Title 42 proposed in Senators Tillis and Sinema’s framework directly contradicts not only the recommendations of experts and public health officials, but also the expressed values of the majority of Americans,” said Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy at CWS. “Those seeking safety are not political pawns, and the legal rights of one group should not be traded away for another, as this proposed legislation is attempting to do. The way forward, for our asylum system and for our nation, is not through continued expansion of discriminatory, harmful policies like Title 42. Instead, we must invest in policies that treat all those seeking protection in a way that reflects their inherent dignity, value, and humanity.”

“We celebrate any expansion of immigration protections, especially a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers; however, Congress cannot allow anti-immigrant politicians to destroy our asylum system in the process,” said Dr. Kim Lamberty, Quixote Center Executive Director. “We must not forget that American communities are deeply intertwined. Dreamers deserve to receive a long-awaited sign of relief without worrying about the fate of family and community members seeking safety. Vulnerable people fleeing from danger are not bargaining tools. Rather than expand cruel and discriminatory policies such as Title 42, Congress should fight to welcome those seeking safety and deliver on their promise to protect Dreamers.”

“It’s good to finally see some legislative movement to get Dreamers out of the cruel limbo in which they’re forced to live,” said Adam Isacson, Director for Defense Oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America. “But you’ve probably heard about the ‘Trolley Problem,’ an ethical thought experiment in which a person is forced to choose between two outcomes, both of which do severe harm to other human beings. This legislation creates a trolley problem where none need exist. It would preserve Title 42 for a year, condemning a year’s worth of asylum seekers to summary expulsion; many would face death, torture, gender-based violence, and other harm. The other choice—failing to pass this legislation—would devastate the lives of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, who are our fellow Americans. This is a false dilemma, a completely unnecessary choice. It should be just as possible to give Dreamers the relief they deserve, while fixing our rickety asylum system so that it can meet the demands of an era of historic worldwide migration. There is no need to harm one population to help another.”

“At the end of the day, the devil is in the details when it comes to legislation. Since the inception of Title 42, the Young Center and our allies have been clear: Title 42 is deadly. It puts children, families, and adults in danger and forces families to separate. There is no excuse to continue this policy or any anti-asylum practices that resemble it,” said Mary Miller Flowers, Senior Policy Analyst at the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. “What’s important to remember is that Senators Sinema and Tillis’ proposed framework is not a final bill. Congress still has an opportunity to ensure that passing a pathway to citizenship for millions of dreamers does not come at the expense of harmful tradeoffs that deny children, families, and adults their right to seek asylum.”


The Welcome with Dignity Campaign for asylum rights is composed of more than 100 national and regional organizations committed to transforming the way the United States receives and protects people forced to flee their homes to ensure they are treated humanely and fairly. To learn more and join our campaign visit: