FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 9, 2023
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Rep. Chu Joins Maya, Afghan, and Border Community Leaders in Denouncing Biden’s Asylum Ban and Potential Plan for Family Detention
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WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA/28) joined leaders from the Afghan, Maya, and U.S. border communities to speak out about reports the Biden administration will detain families and institute an asylum ban on Indigenous peoples and people from Afghanistan arriving at the U.S. Southern border.
Said Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA/28): “I agree wholeheartedly with Secretary Mayorkas when he said, ‘A detention center is not where a family belongs,’ and with the President himself during the 2020 general election when he opposed the use of such facilities and stated ‘children should be released from ICE detention with their parents immediately.’ I’m hoping that the reporting from the New York Times this week was just chatter, not a policy being seriously considered by the President, Secretary Mayorkas, or DHS. Reviving family detention would undermine the President’s longstanding commitment to a humane immigration policy for asylum seekers and so I am vehemently opposed.”
“As the International Mayan League, we are disappointed with the Biden administration for trying to implement an asylum ban and family detention policies,” said Emil’ Keme (K’iche’ Maya). “For Indigenous peoples who have been forced or expelled from their homelands, this would mean a violation of their inherent right to seek asylum and place them in a situation of life and death. Indigenous children, girls, women, and the LGBTQ2s+ community are at heightened risk for sexual violence and human trafficking because of their age, gender, and Indigenous language barriers.”
“President Biden made a solemn promise to those who stood by America during the 20-year occupation: if you stood by us, there is a home here for you,” said Arash Azizzada, Co-Director, Afghans for a Better Tomorrow. “Yet, after a botched withdrawal that left so many behind, President Biden’s new proposals for an asylum ban and family separation are yet another slap in the face of Afghans, who are facing closed pathways to asylum. Afghans seeking safety are forced to take a dangerous and violent journey with their young children, who are fleeing persecution and mass starvation. We demand this administration welcomes Afghans with the dignity they deserve and abandon Trump’s failed policies of cruelty.”
“There is an inherent, irreconcilable conflict of interest between detaining children and caring for them, and ICE has repeatedly demonstrated its inability to care for children,” said Shalyn Fluharty, executive director of Americans for Immigrant Justice and former director of Dilley Pro Bono Project. “Egregious conditions in family detention have caused children both short- and long- term physical and mental suffering, even resulting in death. My one-year-old child client Mariee died days after her release from family detention, where she contracted a respiratory illness. My fourteen-year-old client, suffering the life-changing effects of prolonged indefinite detention, tried to hang herself from a shower curtain. We’ve been through this before and one thing is clear—family detention can never be humane.”
Nicole Morgan, Associate Attorney, RAICES; and “For Biden to say that if another country in your transit doesn’t recognize your right to exist how are you want to, doesn’t recognize your humanity, does not recognize human dignity, does not allow you to be you, and doesn’t want you, then we will not recognize it either and you will not be able to apply for asylum–that’s not who we are.”
Download a recording of the press conference here (passcode *Mh0!@0#).
The Welcome with Dignity Campaign 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: welcomewithdignity.org
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The #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign for asylum rights is composed of more than 100 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: welcomewithdignity.org