Listen to a recording from today’s call HERE
Washington D.C. – On Friday, January 20th at 12 noon EST, America’s Voice hosted a press call with other experts and advocates to critique the Biden Administration’s new ‘carrot and stick’ set of policies, announced two weeks ago. The proposed asylum transit ban was a particular focus of analysis, with experts detailing why it would be illegal – as similar policies by the Trump administration were ruled – and would have dangerous and lasting consequences to asylum seekers and America’s proudest values and traditions.
“A transit asylum ban was unlawful under the Trump administration and would be unlawful under the Biden administration,” said Lee Gelernt, who successfully argued the challenge to the Trump Transit ban, and is Deputy Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “If this administration follows the prior administration and enacts a transit ban, we will immediately bring a lawsuit, as we successfully did under the Trump administration.”
“Central American asylum seekers aren’t leaving their homes willingly, but because violence, persecution, and climate change disasters leave them with no other option but to flee for their lives,” said Helena Olea, Associate Director for Programs at Alianza Americas, a multiracial coalition that represents 58 migrant-led organizations across the United States.”This isn’t a one-off emergency that is going to fade away by deporting people back to danger. We need to invest in our asylum system so that we give people a fair opportunity to explain why they need protection.”
Dylan Corbett, Executive Director, Hope Border Institute, said: “We have to acknowledge how far the previous administration moved the goal posts on immigration. But the solution can’t be the implementation of an alternative model whose metric of success is how many people we keep out rather than how many people we can provide protection to. Border communities know that we can meet this moment by restoring our asylum commitments, redeploying resources to build humanitarian reception at the border, and moving the conversation upstream by addressing the drivers of migration. This is what it means to be a country that supports human rights.”
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said: “Managing migration humanely means addressing drivers of displacement and working with regional partners to share responsibility. But it also means the U.S. must lead by the power of its example. Draconian restrictions to limit the legal right to seek asylum are a short-term deterrent, but robust legal pathways will ultimately ease strain on the asylum system well into the future. The path forward should include equitable asylum access, humanitarian parole programs, efficient refugee program processing, and increased labor visas if we’re going to meet the moral obligations and economic needs of this nation.”
Vanessa Cárdenas, America’s Voice Executive Director and the moderator of today’s call, noted in her introduction: “The challenge at the border is yet another symptom of our broken immigration system which adds urgency to the need for reform. It has been 40 years and counting since Congress took action. And while we applaud some of the President’s actions and disagree with others, the bottom line is this: they are band aid interventions. What is needed is a set of policies to modernize our immigration system that invests in our security, builds our economy and is true to our values as a nation of immigrants. Rather than erecting new barriers to asylum, we should be efficiently processing asylum claims, protecting people and their due process rights, investing in resettlement, establishing legal channels and addressing root causes which are forcing people to move.”
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