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Policy Experts and Faith Leaders Discuss Latest on Capitol Hill Negotiations

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Find the full recording of the call here.


Washington, DC — Today, Bishop Mark Seitz, Bishop of El Paso and Chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, joined immigration policy experts and advocates on a press call to discuss the latest on immigration policy negotiations in the Senate. Speakers reviewed the harmful policies currently under consideration and the implications on border communities, children’s welfare, and the broader immigration system.

“I’m astonished that serious people in Washington D.C. are considering dreadful policies like Title 42. It is unnecessary, it is ineffective, and it is inhumane. This would be a step back and a betrayal of the President’s promise to work for the restoration of asylum. I’ve been Bishop in El Paso for 10 years and I can tell you, deterrence and asylum restrictions simply don’t lower arrival numbers. But they do hurt people. And they do kill people. The policies reportedly under consideration–nationwide expedited removal, Title 42, mandatory detention–are regressive in every way,” said Bishop Mark Seitz, Bishop of El Paso and Chair of USCCB Committee on Migration.

“Last year around this time, because of Title 42, we had hundreds of people who entered the U.S. irregularly out in the cold El Paso winter streets and the community strained to meet their needs. This year, despite the increase in numbers, we have the ability, capacity, and resources to meet the challenge. And we’re in a much better, more resilient place,” said Dylan Corbett, Executive Director of the Hope Border Institute. “It’s unconscionable that Republican lawmakers and the administration would plunge the community of El Paso back into chaos and crisis, just as we’re stepping out. Walking into this Republican trap would be a self-inflicted wound by a Democratic White House that could lead to the most regressive changes to our asylum system at the border in decades.”

“The extreme policies under consideration will have dire, lasting consequences for immigrant children and families, both those who are seeking asylum and those who are long-term residents,” said Wendy Cervantes, Director of Immigration and Immigrant Families at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). “As stated in our letter from 250 organizations, the White House and Congress do not have to compromise our nation’s values to achieve our funding priorities. Families and children seek asylum because their lives depend on it. Instead of implementing Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant agenda, our nation’s leaders should be focused on humane, child-centered solutions for receiving asylum seekers as well as securing urgently needed permanent relief for DACA recipients and other undocumented youth and residents.”

“The policies currently under consideration are extremely harmful and would create permanent changes to our immigration system. Lawmakers should not rush a deal through at the eleventh hour. We can’t negotiate away protections for kids, vulnerable people, torture survivors, and other people who are coming to the U.S.,” said Kerri Talbot, Executive Director of the Immigration Hub. “At their core, these negotiations are about what it means to be American and who gets to be one. These are issues that challenge the strength of our nation’s welcoming values. Unfortunately, the negotiators have locked themselves in a room with no real input from critical groups like Latino senators or those representing immigrant constituencies. It is not fair to immigrant communities or the American people to rush a deal through without adequate consideration and input from affected communities.”

“These negotiations are based on Republicans’ false choice and premise – that our country should close its borders, that there should be a ban on seeking asylum, and that undocumented immigrants, regardless of how long they’ve been here, should be deported. The GOP is putting policy to Trump’s abhorrent vision for America where immigrants are a ‘poison’ that should be extracted,” said Beatriz Lopez, Deputy Director of the Immigration Hub. “Democrats should not concede to Republican demands and compromise America’s values. The majority of voters don’t want a return to failed, Trump-era policies. They didn’t like this cruel agenda in 2018 and 2020 and they certainly don’t support it now. If President Biden and his party want to galvanize voters next year and live up to the promise of our nation, it is critical that they align themselves with the public and renew a commitment to balanced solutions that enact humane border security measures and address long-term populations already in the U.S.”