Advocates in Border States Ready to Welcome Refugees & Asylum Seekers
Washington - Today, the Biden Administration announced that effective May 23, 2022, it would stop using Title 42 to expel asylum seekers and other migrants seeking humanitarian protections at the border. The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), a multi-ethnic coalition of the nation’s largest state-level immigrant advocacy organizations, applauds the Biden administration for recognizing domestic law and the human rights of asylum seekers and others seeking refuge, and calls on the administration to fully restore the nation’s humanitarian asylum and refugee resettlement system.
As the administration seeks to streamline the asylum process by moving it from immigration courts into the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the need for ending policies that undermine asylum protections is even more critical.
“The Biden administration's decision to stop using Title 42 is a victory for human rights and for recognizing the dignity of asylum seekers and others seeking refuge, however every day this policy remains in effect endangers highly vulnerable individuals facing persecution or violence in their home countries” said Nicole Melaku, NPNA Executive Director. “Now that the administration has affirmed its commitment to upholding domestic law and international human rights, it has a moral obligation to end other inhumane anti-asylum policies, such as Remain in Mexico, and restore and expand asylum and refugee protections. The administration can do so in a fair, dignified, and orderly process.”
According to advocates, restoring and expanding these protections would include:
- Ending Remain in Mexico;
- Granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for individuals in need in a manner that is not racially disparate;
- Ensuring that initiatives to address immigration court backlogs, like the interim final rule on asylum and the dedicated docket, are accompanied by expanding access to legal representation;
- Prioritizing the administration's directives to expand asylum protections for women who are survivors of gender-based violence, people who are fleeing gang violence, and communities facing persecution based on their sexual orientation and/or identity; and
- Prioritizing the use of TPS, refugee resettlement, and other administrative and legislative tools to welcome immigrants who are forced to leave their home countries due to climate change, among other tools.
“The United States’ ending the use of COVID as an excuse to restrict the rights of asylum seekers is long overdue,” said Anahita Panahi, Refugee Campaign Manager, CHIRLA & We Are All America. “Title 42 has been used as a discriminatory tool to deny asylum to individuals fleeing impoverished, war-torn, and climate-driven disasters in their home countries. The denial of asylum by the U.S. has violated domestic law and international law, which states that it is a human right to seek asylum.”
“Our community in Arizona is welcoming to refugees and asylum seekers; it has been for many years,” said Christy Bishop, Assistant Director of Advocacy for Their Story is Our Story.
“We are preparing to provide humanitarian aid once Title 42 is lifted and look forward to restoring the human right to seek asylum.”
“Title 42 has served as an excuse to expel Black and brown immigrants for too long, and it must end immediately,” said Gustavo Torres, CASA executive director. “In rejecting this discriminatory policy, the Biden administration must also undo the damage that migrants have suffered by offering and expanding asylum, temporary protected status (TPS), and other immigrant protections. This means creating a fair, humane, and anti-racist immigration system that keeps people safe and families together. ICE detention centers must be closed down, and digital surveillance must end. Immigrants must be welcomed and provided with the resources they need including legal counsel and in-language services. The Biden administration must rise to this moment because Black and brown communities have been waiting too long for relief.”