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Immigration Experts Condemn Potential Effort to Gut Asylum System and Legal Pathways

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For recording of today’s call, click HERE

Washington, DC On a press call held this morning, leading immigration policy experts and advocates discussed the details and implications of proposals being discussed in the Senate to restrict access to the American asylum system, radically restrict access to lawful migration pathways and immigration parole and allow for a unilateral transit ban. As the speakers detailed, this short-run trade-off for long-term policies restricting asylum would create immediate chaos at the U.S. border and would be politically painful to Democrats whose constituents want longer-run solutions for the millions of immigrants who live and work here. 

Lia Parada, Chief Advocacy Officer at The Immigration Hub said, “The GOP is in such disarray, having gone so far to the right that foreign aid for a long standing ally is not reason enough to vote for funding. Instead, they are looking to extract Trump-like, permanent changes to immigration law that would completely decimate our asylum system and shut our doors to the most vulnerable. Democratic senators, who vowed to restore our asylum system when Trump dismantled it, should not take the bait.”

Andrea Flores, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Campaigns at FWD.us said, “If the Senate negotiations are centering around anti-immigrant policies that were already tried and repeatedly failed to reduce pressure and chaos at the border, then the question is: what smart policy priorities are being counter-offered? Ending our asylum system, radically restricting access to lawful migration pathways, limiting immigration parole, or unilateral transit bans should not be the center of gravity for any serious negotiations to find solutions to our nation’s immigration challenges. Now is the moment for our champions on Capitol Hill to stand up and make clear which priorities for immigrant communities they are fighting for.”

Kica Matos, President of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) said: “As a constituent, I want to tell Senator Murphy that the voters of Connecticut would rather have him solve problems sensibly than throw asylum seekers under the bus to appease lawmakers holding crucial aid to conflict zones hostage. Changing the asylum rules will not address the humanitarian crisis at the border or the growing needs within cities across the U.S. What changing the asylum rules WILL do is put more people in danger. We strongly urge Senate Democrats to reject these radical proposals.”

Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice, said, “Republicans, with apparent complicity of some Democrats, seem ready to make permanent new and damaging policy changes that would gut the asylum system and create more chaos and disorder at the southern border. No Democrat should advance key elements of Donald Trump and Stephen Miller’s wish list. The goal of any immigration changes should be to promote safety, orderliness, and legality and to reduce border chaos. Yet the policies apparently on the table to gut asylum and enact deterrence-only measures would add to chaos and disorder and cruelty, including efforts to restrict the promising legal parole programs that create safe, legal and orderly pathways for migration. Given their control of the White House and Senate, Democrats should be fighting for changes that will actually improve our immigration and asylum system, not the grab bag of Trumpian policies being negotiated.”