Recommendations for Biden Administration: Welcoming the Persecuted, Restoring Order, and Upholding Asylum Law, Refugee Treaties and Values
The Trump administration destroyed the U.S. asylum system, trampled on refugee laws and treaties, and spurred chaos and disorder at the border. Through that administration’s final days, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continued to turn away people seeking humanitarian protection at the U.S.-Mexico border, illegally returning them to persecution, torture, and horrific harms, flouting U.S. law and treaty obligations.
Now, the Biden administration must restore U.S. leadership in protecting the persecuted and transform the U.S. approach to refugee protection, shifting the paradigm from one driven by detention, and attempts to deter and turn away refugees seeking asylum, to a genuine humanitarian response, led by humanitarian agencies, that upholds refugee laws and effectively manages asylum cases. The Biden administration should immediately take steps to end illegal Trump administration asylum policies, launch a major regional initiative to expand access to protection in the Americas, implement orderly, fair, and timely processes for U.S. asylum claims, and employ effective and humane case management strategies, rejecting costly mass detention that violates human rights.