Biden administration announces additional asylum restrictions | Global Refuge

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Press Release

Biden administration announces additional asylum restrictions

Global Refuge Staff

June 4, 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 4, 2024

Contact: Timothy Young | timothy.young@globalrefuge.org

Baltimore, MD – The Biden administration announced today a proclamation to further restrict asylum eligibility at the southern border for people who cross between official U.S. ports of entry. This proclamation is accompanied by an interim final rule from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security that restricts asylum for those noncitizens.

The sweeping restriction will allow border officials to quickly remove migrants who enter the U.S. unlawfully, without processing their asylum claims, when daily migrant apprehensions between ports of entry surpass 2,500. The decision comes on the heels of two failed efforts in Congress this year to pass bipartisan immigration reforms.

The new policy relies on the same authority, known as 212(f), that the Trump administration invoked in 2018 to deny asylum to those who crossed between ports of entry. Federal courts repeatedly struck the policy down because it violated U.S. immigration law, which affords the right to seek asylum regardless of manner of entry.

In response to the president’s executive order, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Global Refuge said:

“The Biden administration is clearly hamstrung by Congressional leaders who refuse to acknowledge that secure borders and robust humanitarian protections are not mutually exclusive concepts. We can both ensure our national security and meet our moral and legal obligations to the most vulnerable in an orderly, fair, and efficient manner. Unfortunately, partisan politics and congressional inaction have forced President Biden into the wholly unsustainable dynamic of legislating by executive order.”

“We are deeply concerned about the legality of this interim final rule and the moral implications of turning away asylum-seeking families desperate for and deserving of protection. Our fear is that such restrictions would ultimately deny protection to persecuted individuals and families based on increasingly arbitrary factors, and not on the actual merits of their claim. This represents a troubling departure from an approach that balances the carrot and stick in favor of hardline restrictions that have historically failed to bring order or fairness to our border.”

“Instead of focusing solely on administrative actions that curtail asylum rights, the Biden administration should look to implement a holistic policy to manage our southern border. Viable options include increasing legal pathways, such as guest worker and family reunification programs, encouraging more protection partnership work in the region, such as its Safe Mobility Offices, and cracking down on trafficking operations.”

“Beyond policy, the White House should take every opportunity to make a full-throated case as to why welcoming immigrants isn’t just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. President Biden should use his bully pulpit to highlight how immigrants have helped cool inflation, keep Social Security afloat, fill critical labor shortages, start small businesses, put food on our tables, and care for our older Americans, among many other essential contributions. If leaders in Washington stop grandstanding, we could have a system that both honors our values and unleashes a new era of economic prosperity for all who call America home.”

About us:

Global Refuge, formerly Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, is a nonprofit serving newcomers seeking safety, support, and a share in the American dream. For 85 years, we have welcomed those seeking refuge, upholding a legacy of compassion and grace for people in crisis. We walk alongside individuals, families, and children as they begin their new lives in the United States through our work in refugee resettlement, welcome and respite services for asylum seekers, economic empowerment and employment, and family unification for unaccompanied children. To date, we have served over 750,000 people from around the globe. At Global Refuge, welcoming newcomers isn’t just our duty—it’s an inherent part of our identity, rooted in our Lutheran heritage and inspired values, and serving as a testament to our unwavering commitment to those in search of refuge.

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