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Returning to Family Detention is Out of Bounds

WASHINGTON – Bilal Askaryar of #WelcomeWithDignity issued the following response to reports that the Biden administration is considering reinstating family detention for those seeking safety in the United States:

“Putting entire families in jail because they dared to seek safety at our doorstep? Adding new, impossible hurdles to the right to seek asylum? The fundamental problem with the Biden administration’s policies is that they don’t view people seeking asylum as people. President Biden, DHS Secretary Mayorkas, Ambassador Rice, and every decision-maker in the administration—they have all bought into the rightwing framework of this issue. They’re letting former president Trump, anti-immigrant governors, and extremists in Congress dictate their policy.

People seeking asylum are not enforcement challenges. They are people. 

We often say we’d do anything for our loved ones; people seeking asylum already have. My family fled Afghanistan when I was a child, and we were lucky enough to be granted asylum. That’s why it is so painful for me to see the administration treat people and families this way. If my family had come a few years later, this could have been us. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have jail be my first “home” in this country I thought would be safe.

The challenge is not refugees seeking asylum at our doorstep, it is how we respond. President Biden continues to take inspiration from the cruel deterrence tactics of past administrations that were always ineffective and cruel. Bringing back family detention, like last week’s proposed asylum ban will only lead to more unnecessary suffering. This administration should stop letting its opposition dictate policies and join communities around the country who are proudly welcoming people to their new homes.



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:

To submit a public comment telling the administration how the proposed asylum ban will harm asylum seekers before the comment period closes on March 27, visit