Joint letter to Biden Administration Urging Safeguarding of U.S. Asylum Protections
Dear President Biden,
We write as organizations committed to civil rights, human rights, and racial justice to express extreme concern over proposals to dramatically and permanently change the U.S. immigration system in ways that would harm asylum seekers and other vulnerable immigrants. Immigrants and refugees are our neighbors and our co-workers. They make our economy vibrant and our communities stronger. In a time of growing political divisiveness, it is imperative that your administration outright reject extremist measures and stand solidly on the side of inclusion.
We are appalled by proposals that would eliminate or reduce asylum protections at precisely the moment in which protections for people seeking asylum are most needed. These proposals, including statutory changes to asylum law and major funding expansions to detain and rapidly remove people seeking asylum, would lead to violations of international law, and would violate your campaign commitment to restore the asylum system after the prior administration decimated it. Most importantly, if these proposals are implemented, more people who have no choice but to flee for their lives will be sent back to once again face persecution and harm. Some will die. The harm will fall disproportionately on Black, Brown and Indigenous refugees who are already marginalized globally.
We acknowledge your administration’s efforts to address the humanitarian crises in Latin America and the Caribbean and to rebuild the U.S. refugee program after it was nearly dismantled during the prior administration. The Western Hemisphere is facing one of its greatest refugee crises in modern history, and we support the Administration’s efforts to better resource processing, adjudications, and civil society and local governments providing respite and social services to new arrivals.
Our communities are stronger because of the generations of immigrants and refugees who have come to the United States seeking safety for themselves and their loved ones. We urge you to fulfill your promise to “restore our asylum system” and affirm U.S. global leadership on refugee protection by ensuring processing, welcoming and adjudication services are robustly funded while publicly rejecting policy and funding proposals that would impose even greater obstacles to equitable access to asylum for people arriving in the United States.