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WASHINGTON, D.C. – As some Republican lawmakers continue to hold security assistance to Ukraine hostage in exchange for major policy reforms to restrict immigration, immigrant rights advocates and policy experts held a press call today to outline the anticipated harms of several Trump-era policies under consideration in the Senate. The proposals include policies that will make it easier to deport families at the border, raise the standard to seek asylum, and create a new expulsion authority to block asylum seekers. Speakers also addressed the dangers of restricting the President’s parole authority, which would not only cause lasting damage to the immigration system but is being purposely demanded to spur chaos at the border in 2024.
“There is a reason why every President since the 1950’s has used parole. It is incredibly cynical for some Republicans to not only hold up critical security aid to Ukraine but to demand that no President going forward has the freedom to send the foreign policy signal that we can quickly resettle people in desperate need of protection. That is an extreme demand that will fundamentally reshape America’s immigration system as we know it and it won’t solve our problems at the border,” said Andrea Flores, Vice President for Immigration Policy & Campaigns at FWD.us. “Republicans are newly focused on ending parole because, as we’re heading into an election year, it is the one policy that has actually led to a sustained decrease in unauthorized crossings. In some cases, we’ve seen a 90% drop in unauthorized migration. If you truly care about ending illegal migration and getting border numbers down, why would you try to take away that tool?”
“The reason immigration parole has been so valuable to Republican and Democratic administrations over the past 70 years is because the world is constantly changing and our restrictive immigration laws are fixed in time. Parole is one of very few tools an executive has to mitigate dysfunction. Curtailing the statutory parole authority or setting arbitrary numerical caps would undermine the Biden administration’s border management strategy, increasing chaos at the border and damaging U.S. foreign policy and leadership in the Western Hemisphere,” said Tom Jawetz, Former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Official.
“The current situation at the border is extraordinarily complicated, so getting it right requires that policymakers abandon the kind of short-term solutionism exemplified by Speaker Johnson’s claim that Biden ‘could issue executive orders and fix this overnight.’ Instead, policymakers should engage with experts, consider points of view from all sides, and focus on meaningful changes to immigration law that will pay off in the long term. There is no magic bullet that will solve the global migration crisis overnight. We have to work with our international partners and think innovatively rather than falling back on reinstating failed enforcement policies like Title 42,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Policy Director at the American Immigration Council.
“We have to step out of this false dichotomy that the only existing options are the status quo or failed Trump-era policies. The American people want to see solutions to our broken immigration system, but cruelty and chaos are not solutions. Lawmakers must avoid reviving cruel policies that gut our asylum system and block families from seeking asylum or otherwise turn them away in their hour of need,” said Lia Parada, Chief Advocacy Officer at the Immigration Hub. “If Republicans are not willing to negotiate in good faith and come to the table on a balanced approach, one that addresses border security humanely and expands legal pathways for new and long-settled immigrants, we urge Democrats to hold the line and lead by example.”
“The party that on one side of Capitol Hill is negotiating with Secretary Mayorkas and on the other side of the Hill trying to impeach him is not serious about solving our immigration challenges or reaching compromise,” said Vanessa Cárdenas, the Executive Director of America’s Voice. “This same party has three leading presidential candidates calling for a purge of all 11 million undocumented immigrants in mass deportations or saying that immigrants are poisoning the blood of America. Republicans it seems are not negotiating in good faith or looking for solutions to alleviate pressure on the border or in American cities. And they are driving extreme policy changes that we know will have disastrous consequences down the road.”