The Biden Administration Must Prioritize Protection Over Punitive Policies

By USCRI April 28, 2023

Yesterday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced that the Biden administration will implement new regional migration measures as it prepares for the overdue end of Title 42 on May 11, 2023. The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) welcomes the announced expansion of refugee resettlement from Latin America and the Caribbean, the extension of family reunification parole processes for individuals from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and the establishment of new Regional Processing Centers (RPCs) and partnerships in the Western Hemisphere. However, USCRI reiterates its call on the administration to protect, not undermine, the right to due process and to not build more barriers to accessing asylum.

“Strengthening pathways to permanent protections for those displaced and seeking refuge is a responsibility the U.S. Government should prioritize, and we are hopeful that measures announced yesterday are efforts in this regard,” said USCRI President and CEO Eskinder Negash. “Yet we remain gravely concerned that these efforts are paired with punitive policies to bar individuals from seeking asylum.”

USCRI urges the Biden administration to immediately change course on its plans to restrict access to asylum and instead uphold U.S. and international law and the principle of non-refoulement by allowing individuals to apply for asylum regardless of how they enter the country.

“Placing conditions on the right to seek asylum sets a disturbing and dangerous precedent,” said Mr. Negash. “The U.S. Government must uphold its legal and moral obligations to allow people fleeing persecution and violence to seek asylum at its borders, no matter their manner of entry, transit route, or ability to register for an appointment on a mobile app.”

Addressing the challenges associated with increased migration flows in the region indeed will require partnership and investment of resources, but partnership paired with punitive policies will decrease protection for all and force the most vulnerable back into perilous situations.

USCRI, founded in 1911, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit international organization committed to working on behalf of refugees and immigrants and their transition to a dignified life.

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