Press Release

For Immediate Release: Mar. 7, 2024

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#WelcomeWithDignity Campaign Urges Humane Border Solutions Ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union Address

“President Biden has the opportunity to do better, and we urge him to take the side of humanity in any future actions on the border.”

Washington, DCAhead of President Biden’s State of the Union address on March 7, the #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign strongly urges the president to endorse immigration and asylum policies that will uphold the humanity of all those seeking safety in the United States and improve structured immigration processes. 

#WelcomeWithDignity urges the Biden administration to listen to those who work every day to welcome asylum seekers and take the following actionable steps to secure our borders and rebuild our immigration system to be more humane and organized: 

  1. Adequately staff ports of entry and increase processing capacity
  2. Increase organized infrastructure to handle initial screening for people seeking asylum
  3. Fund state and local governments, nonprofits and other community organizations that support people as they navigate their immigration cases both at the border and final destinations 

#WelcomeWithDignity Campaign member organizations who work on the ground every single day with refugees and asylum seekers who are fleeing persecution, poverty and violence understand the reality of our systematically neglected and defunded immigration system. They have seen firsthand that deterrence policies do not work. Punitive, unnecessary, and wasteful immigration detention practices cause more harm and chaos to both our country and to people seeking asylum. 

“President Biden campaigned on the promise to uphold the dignity of both women and immigrants. During his State of the Union on the eve of International Women’s Day, we remind him that his immigration policies impact the lives and well-being of tens of thousands of women and families seeking asylum,” said Melina Roche, #WelcomeWithDignity campaign manager. “President Biden has the opportunity to do better, and we urge him to take the side of humanity in any future actions on the border. We are calling upon the president to stop the cruel treatment of adults, families, and children at our border, and embrace humane, meaningful immigration reform that protects everyone’s rights.” 

“President Biden must seize this opportunity to reframe the narrative around immigrants and make a full-throated defense against the widespread and unwarranted demonization we have seen from bad-faith actors,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Global Refuge. “The truth is that these newcomers are hardworking, resilient and courageous people who undertake a long, dangerous journey to provide a better, safer life for themselves and their children. President Biden should stress that immigrants contribute to our communities as neighbors and friends, revitalize local economies, pay taxes, and fill critical jobs amid crippling labor shortages that our nation continues to grapple with.”

“Three years ago President Biden took office with a pledge to restore humanity to our asylum system,” said Kate Jastram, director of policy and advocacy at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “Yet despite some promising initiatives, his administration has largely adopted the Stephen Miller playbook, exacerbating chaos and suffering at the border, and flying in the face of the United States’ promise to extend refuge to those fleeing persecution. It is not too late to change course. Ahead of his State of the Union address, and on the eve of International Women’s Day, we urge President Biden to set aside the politics of fear and embrace real solutions for our communities that put fairness and humanity first.”

“President Biden should use tonight’s State of the Union address to break from both his own recent hardline rhetoric and the extreme anti-immigrant policies of former President Trump,” said Sunil Varghese, policy director at the International Refugee Assistance Project. “The President would do well to remember that refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants are key to this country’s success. Mimicking the efforts of his opponents to vilify people seeking safety at the border instead of championing the power and capacity of the United States to be a beacon of hope is a recipe for electoral, political and moral failure.”

“Tonight, President Biden should use his bully pulpit to tell the American people how and why our immigration and asylum policies must center the humanity and dignity of all individuals and families,” said Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center. “He should also re-commit to his campaign promises by rejecting cruel and cynical policies that demonize migrants and those fleeing persecution. The President must use this moment to lift up the ideals of that beacon on the hill that we aspire to be, in contrast with his predecessor’s dark, anti-immigrant vision for the country.” 

“President Biden has a unique opportunity during tonight’s State of the Union address – to remind us that our nation is a nation of immigrants. This diversity drives and inspires our nation and our world. We must create a fair and humane asylum and border system, so that those fleeing persecution have a chance to tell their stories to trained asylum officials in our government – and  are not denied due process”, stated Amanda Alvarado-Ford, development director and immigration attorney at La Raza Centro Legal San Francisco.

“We urge President Biden to take this opportunity to show his leadership and commitment to protect human rights and to stand with the people who are seeking safety for themselves and their families”, said Ali Aljundi, membership manager at Refugee Congress.

The cruelty at the border needs to stop,” said Aimée Santillán, policy analyst for the Hope Border Institute. “It’s abundantly clear that the implementation of deterrence policies has only exacerbated the chaos and inflicted profound pain upon those seeking refuge. President Biden must unequivocally uphold his commitment to safeguarding the rights of individuals seeking safety within our borders. It is imperative that compassionate and effective measures replace the current approach, ensuring that dignity and humanity guide our nation’s immigration policies.”

“At a time of record global displacement, it could not be more urgent for President Biden to embrace the humane and orderly solutions we know can address displacement,” said Katharina Obser, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “The United States can and should be a global leader on refugee protection, rather than relying on enforcement and deterrence to solve a problem that neither can address. We urge the President to champion humane policies that welcome people seeking protection, and invest in the incredible work of the communities and organizations welcoming and supporting them.”



Join the movement and sign our pledge to #WelcomeWithDignity.


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: