Human Rights First Condemns Biden’s Administration Move to Expedite Family Removal
WASHINGTON – Last night, the Biden administration announced plans to subject certain families who enter the United States between ports of entry to the fundamentally flawed expedited removal process, a change in course for President Biden. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new statement was followed by the release of a new factsheet from the White House outlining their actions on immigration and asylum.
“Expedited removal has proven to be a due process and human rights fiasco, again and again. The last thing the Biden administration should be doing is subjecting children, parents and other asylum seekers to this expedited deportation process,” said Robyn Barnard, senior advocacy counsel for refugee protection at Human Rights First. “DHS must follow and adhere to asylum law, and on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Refugee Convention, the Biden administration is failing in this, as well as their duty to protect and respect refugees. The administration should instead begin investing in community-based case support initiatives and legal representation because we know that asylum seekers with representation overwhelmingly appear for their hearings.”
The use of the expedited removal process is highly problematic and will likely lead to an increase of families in detention and the return of refugees to persecution. DHS’s statement fails to outline any concrete steps to safeguard the families’ due process and human rights in this expedited process. Human Rights First, alongside other NGOs, sent a letter to DHS demanding an end to this policy, alongside other Trump-era policies and highlighting the risks of procedures like expedited removal.
“Based on the language of DHS’s recent statement we are concerned that Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol will use summary deportation to punish families that crossed between the designated point of entries at a time when the ports of entry themselves are closed to asylum seekers,” says Barnard. “There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to seek asylum according to U.S. law. Punishing those who enter the country in a certain way is a clear violation of Article 31 of the Refugee Convention, which is particularly egregious as we celebrate its 70th anniversary tomorrow. We remain deeply opposed to the admiration’s continued use of expedited removal and detention against adults seeking asylum in the United States.”
Earlier this year, Human Rights First released several fact sheets and letters that denounced the expedited process and called on the Biden administration to adjust enforcement priorities that sought to remove asylum seekers.