FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2023
Press Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | 646-899-972
WWD Campaign Partners Respond to Reports Biden Administration Plans to Replace Title 42 With Other Asylum Bans
WASHINGTON – The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration is planning to continue to crush access to asylum as it lifts Title 42 on May 11. The administration is “still evaluating public comments” about one proposed policy, and considering jailing entire families, harkening back to another dark chapter of recent U.S. history. Advocates are outraged that the administration intends to replace one asylum ban with another, instead of recognizing and facilitating peoples’ international legal right to be safe.
Over 43,000 people in the United States submitted comments opposing a proposed rule to restrict asylum access once Title 42 is withdrawn. Around the country, communities are welcoming people seeking asylum with open arms and helping them get set up in their new homes. This spirit of shared humanity and welcome should set the tone for federal policies, not fear and repression.
“ImmDef, along with thousands of others, recently spoke out in opposition to the Biden administration’s proposed asylum ban. But those public comments have fallen on deaf ears and the administration is rushing to reinstate cruel deterrence policies that will curtail the due process rights of people fleeing persecution. The Biden administration continues to ignore its moral and legal responsibilities under both domestic and international law. And the consequences are tragic—human beings are being sent back to places where they are being persecuted, tortured, and killed. How is that acceptable to a freedom-loving nation? The administration must resist anti-immigrant political pressure and instead demonstrate the political will that is needed to restore dignity and humanity to our immigration system,” said Alvaro Huerta, Litigation and Advocacy Director at Immigrant Defenders Law Center.
“Last month over 40,000 advocates and allies spoke out and demanded the Biden administration withdraw its proposed rule imposing a near-total ban on asylum at the southern border,” said Blaine Bookey, Legal Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “The government now appears poised to rush the ban into effect anyway, gearing up to replace deadly Title 42 expulsions with yet another illegal policy that shuts the door to most refugees seeking safety. The administration also recently revived rushed asylum screenings in border holding cells, a due process disaster under Trump, and it is reportedly still considering locking up asylum-seeking families with children. Together, these policies will traumatize and punish vulnerable people seeking safety and ultimately result in refugees being returned to countries where they face persecution and torture. This cruel approach is not new. President Biden is once again recycling the failed policies of his predecessors, policies proven to inflict immense suffering and sow chaos at the border. We implore the administration to immediately reverse course, keep its promises, and support communities that stand ready to welcome people seeking asylum with dignity.”
“As the Trump-era Title 42 policy that resulted in millions of expulsions at the U.S. southern border finally comes to an end, the Biden administration now faces a choice between more misguided attempts at deterrence, or enacting an asylum system that is truly orderly, fair, and humane for all,” said Katharina Obser, director of the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Migrant Rights and Justice program. “It is critical that the U.S. not replace one broken system with another. The Women’s Refugee Commission urges the Biden administration to abandon its proposed asylum rule that will continue to leave people seeking asylum stranded in chaos and fear. We also urge the administration not to reinstate family detention or increase detention for others—practices that we know harm and prevent meaningful access to asylum—and to instead invest in the reception and case management practices that support people in successfully navigating their immigration case.”
“We are deeply disappointed to hear the Biden administration plans to publish the asylum ban rule and is considering the use of family detention,” says HIAS Policy Counsel, Vanessa Dojaquez-Torres. “Over 5,000 people joined the HIAS campaign in submitting comments pleading to the administration to rethink this policy. DHS must focus resources on processing increased numbers of asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border humanely and fairly. We must demand better from our administration; people’s lives depend on it.”
“It would be a legal, moral and political mistake for the Biden administration to move ahead with its proposed bar to asylum,” says Eleanor Acer, Senior Director for Refugee Protection at Human Rights First. “The proposed rule is opposed by faith leaders; major unions; Holocaust survivors; legal experts; Black-led, LGBTQ, and civil rights organizations; and many Members of Congress who are part of the president’s own party. Sending people seeking refuge at our borders to immigration jails is also inhumane and fiscally irresponsible. Instead of looking to the Trump blueprint, the Biden administration should uphold asylum and redouble efforts to strengthen refugee hosting capacities in other countries, sharply increase regular pathways, and maximize asylum capacity at ports of entry. To provide effective regional leadership and encourage other countries to continue to host large numbers of refugees, the United States must uphold asylum and welcome refugees humanely at its own borders.”
“Of more than 50,000 comments filed in response to the morally reprehensible proposed asylum ban, the vast majority expressed vehement opposition and instead set forth humane, legal, and practical alternatives. Coupled with the threat of restarting family detention, this plan subverts the democratic will and abandons our country’s moral and legal obligations as well as President Biden’s own commitments to protect the most vulnerable immigrants from further harm,” said Casey Carter Swegman, Director of Public Policy at the Tahirih Justice Center. “Rather than double down on failed deterrence-based policies that we know will not succeed in deterring those most desperate for safety from seeking asylum at our borders, and will instead increase immigrant survivors’ susceptibility to danger and revictimization, this administration should uphold its promises to restore meaningful access to asylum. There is no other acceptable path forward.”
“As the Administration prepares to announce new border policies in anticipation of the termination of Title 42 on May 11, we urge them to prioritize efforts that keep the dignity of migrants and asylum seekers at the forefront,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. “Any plan that targets the basic rights of asylum seekers, places them in harm’s way, or leads to the separation or detention of families should be dismissed. Instead, the U.S. must implement a fair and humane asylum system, in accordance with the long-established values of our country.”
“The Advocates for Human Rights calls on the Biden Administration to immediately abandon plans that would exchange human rights for fear-based, illegal and ineffective policies at the US border. Despite the proposed asylum ban’s title and President Biden’s rhetoric, the changes proposed do not promote safe, orderly, or fair migration. Instead, they risk return to persecution and will increasingly result in people falling victim to exploitation. Moreover, detaining individuals causes trauma],” said Michele Garnett-McKenzie, Deputy Director of The Advocates for Human Rights. “The law is clear: the U.S. cannot return people to face harms, impede individuals from exercising their right to seek safety, or subject individuals to arbitrary detention. After receiving tens of thousands of comments opposing the rule and explaining the harm it will cause, the Biden administration must withdraw the proposal and instead adopt the effective, legal, and fair processes experts have suggested. Anything less will risk untold harms and violation of our commitment to human rights.”
“CARECEN SF is disappointed to learn that Biden’s administration has not learned from his predecessor’s mistakes and failed immigration policies, which resulted in irreparable harm to unaccompanied minors, asylum seekers, and migrant families forcibly separated at the border,” said Sarah Gavigan, Senior Immigration Attorney at the Central American Resource Center of Northern CA – CARECEN SF. “If the Biden administration implements the new asylum ban rule, the result will be catastrophic for survivors seeking protection at the border and will have little to no deterrent effect. Implementing more restrictive rules does nothing to change the violent reality from which people are fleeing; it only increases the chances they will be harmed once unjustly and expeditiously removed from the U.S. without a meaningful opportunity to seek asylum. We should not be trying to deter people from survival, but rather welcoming them. The American people have already submitted thousands of comments in opposition to this harmful asylum ban rule, from renowned medical experts to religious leaders and human rights organizations. We urge the Biden administration to listen to those public comments and reverse course on its plan to implement these asylum ban policies in the coming weeks. We encourage the administration to implement policies that uphold the right to seek asylum and treat survivors seeking asylum at our borders with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
“Recent reports of the Administration moving forward with its proposed ban on asylum are deeply concerning and disappointing. It is distressing to witness the undermining of the rights and safety of countless migrant children and families who are fleeing unimaginable violence and disasters. Denying their right to asylum based on how and where they apply for asylum will expose vulnerable families and children to further danger and violence,” said Santiago Mueckay, Associate Director of Family and Child Migration Policy at Save the Children. “Despite the overwhelming opposition to this proposal, as evidenced by the 50,000 public comments submitted during the rule-making process, we are disheartened to see the Administration pressing ahead with policies that put innocent lives at risk. This is unacceptable. People seeking asylum, especially children and families, deserve to be treated with compassion and humanity.”
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: welcomewithdignity.org