Human Rights First Welcomes Resettlement, Condemns Bars to Asylum Seekers

WASHINGTON – Human Rights First welcomes today’s announcement of the Biden administration’s plans to expand refugee resettlement and family reunification parole in the Americas while reiterating the organization’s call for the administration to abandon its planned asylum ban and the conduct of fast-track credible fear interviews in Border Patrol custody.

“The Biden administration is rightly expanding refugee resettlement from the Americas, an overdue step towards addressing a long-standing gap for people in need of international protection,” said Senior Director of Refugee Protection Eleanor Acer. “This initiative should swiftly bring refugees to safety and not be used to reduce the resettlement of refugees from other regions. The Biden administration should focus on measures like increasing refugee resettlement and regular pathways and abandon its plan to impose an asylum ban that would be a legal, moral, and political mistake.”

In today’s announcement, the Biden administration confirmed its plans to implement its proposed ban on asylum, which would violate U.S. and international refugee law and has sparked widespread opposition from faith leaders, civil rights organizations, unions, and many Members of Congress. People seeking asylum at United States borders will be subjected to fast-track credible fear interviews while in Border Patrol custody and barred under the asylum ban, fueling wrongful deportations to persecution and torture.

“The Biden administration rightly ended and should not resurrect Trump-era policies that conduct credible fear interviews in Border Patrol custody where access to legal counsel is restricted,” Acer said. “This due process disaster, along with the imposition of the planned asylum ban, will be a sham process for deporting refugees who qualify for asylum. Instead of implementing policies that punish people seeking asylum, the United States should lead in upholding refugee protections and human rights.”

Human Rights First and other groups have long urged the U.S. government to step up refugee resettlement from the Americas and offer safe pathways for migration. We recommend the Biden administration focus on transformational steps like increasing refugee resettlement and regular pathways and maximizing asylum capacity at ports of entry rather than pursuing its misguided plan to impose a new bar on asylum.

Today’s announcements are part of the Biden administration’s plans to address regional migration and initiate punitive policies as the use of the Title 42 public health order ends on May 11. Human Rights First has repeatedly documented human rights abuses inflicted by the Title 42 policy, including over 13,000 attacks against migrants and asylum seekers blocked in or expelled to Mexico under Title 42 during the Biden administration. The organization has also repeatedly detailed the harms and violations of law that would be caused by the Biden administration’s proposed ban on asylum.


Published on April 27, 2023


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