On World Refugee Day, Human Rights First Urges the Biden Administration to Restore U.S. Leadership in Refugee Protection

NEW YORK — On World Refugee Day, Human Rights First urges U.S. leaders and lawmakers to restart asylum, uphold refugee law, and restore U.S. leadership in protecting the human rights of refugees:
This year, World Refugee Day comes as the United States begins to take steps towards again demonstrating leadership on refugee protection. But, unfortunately, even as the Biden administration slowly unwinds some of the many Trump-era policies that have harmed refugees seeking asylum, other illegal Trump administration policies that expel refugees to danger, separate families, and deny people protection remain in place.

On the campaign trail, President Biden promised that his administration would restore asylum. But five months after taking office, his administration continues to employ Trump-designed policies, turning people seeking refugee protection back to life-threatening dangers.

Thousands of refugees forced to “Remain in Mexico” are still stranded in danger. Refugee families and adults are being denied protection and expelled to danger under Title 42, violating U.S. refugee law and treaties. The illegal Trump-era asylum transit and entry bans are yet to be rescinded. These policies are the remnant of an administration that aimed to inflict the most significant suffering possible on people fleeing persecution.

The Biden administration must take principled action to right these wrongs, uphold refugee law and genuinely commit to protecting refugees. Human Rights First is closely monitoring the administration’s progress – and lack of progress – in upholding U.S. legal obligations under the Refugee Convention and Protocol as the world marks the Convention’s 70th anniversary on July 28.

At Human Rights First, we have seen firsthand the tremendous degree of strength and bravery it takes for a refugee to make the life-changing decision to seek protection. These men, women, and children simply want to live in freedom and safety. They are essential members of our communities — medical professionals, frontline workers, entrepreneurs, and more — who enrich America. It is time for the Biden administration to provide them with the dignity they deserve and the legal protections they are owed under U.S. and international law and the Refugee Convention.


Published on June 19, 2021


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