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The Right and Wrong Way to Push for a Safe and Orderly Border

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Washington, DC – Republicans remain intent to use the supplemental funding process to enact a host of permanent and draconian immigration and asylum policy changes and some Senate Democrats – disturbingly – seem open to the discussion. Notably, there are important border and asylum policy details that Congress can and should address in a supplemental funding package (see here), but what’s on the table and being pushed by Republicans goes much further and would end asylum as we know it.

Those interested in policies that promote safety, order, and legality and reducing border chaos and migration pressures should reject the Republican vision of gutting asylum, adopting new ‘safe third country’ agreements which would all-but cut off access to our asylum legal system, reinstituting Remain in Mexico, or raising the credible fear standard (see here for a good AILA policy brief on the asylum credible fear standard). Instead, as David Bier and Ilya Somin of the Cato Institute remind in an excellent USA Today op-ed, the right way to promote an orderly border and reduce migratory pressures is to expand and make more accessible the safe legal pathways that the Biden administration has pioneered.

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“There’s a right way and a wrong way to approach immigration reform and promote safe, orderly and legal immigration. Republicans’ brinkmanship is driven by an extreme policy agenda and right wing politics and won’t deliver effective results. Their attempt to shoehorn permanent policy changes to gut asylum via the supplemental funding vehicle is both wrong on the process and the substance. In fact, their set of draconian approaches would advance both cruelty and chaos while moving us farther from real solutions to 21st century migration. We need a wholesale reform and modernization of our immigration system and that process should take place via regular order and involve a full-scale set of policy reforms. 

In the interim, and given GOP obstruction to broader reform, we should look at what’s actually working and showing real results at reducing chaos and disorder. Even within the capacity and technology limitations of the current programs, the Biden administration’s legal parole efforts represent an important success story and building block for an accessible, safe and orderly legal process.”

Read the USA Today op-ed from David Bier and Ilya Somin from the Cato Institute: “Biden has the right border plan, but arbitrary caps have actually blocked legal migration” (excerpted below):

“In response to high border crossings, President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress appear ready to at least partially cave to demands to restrict asylum in negotiations on the contours of an ongoing deal.

This would be a grave mistake. It would hurt asylum-seekers but won’t stop illegal migration. Biden already has the right plan for the border. He just hasn’t fully implemented it.  

The best way to reduce pressure on the border from illegal migration is to make legal entry easier, and Biden’s 2023 immigration agenda included many of the necessary measures. Unfortunately, he hasn’t made them available widely enough, and this failure is leading to people entering illegally.

… Biden should order the agencies to eliminate the arbitrary country limitations and numerical caps on parole sponsorship and CBP One. He should also allow migrants to book CBP appointments in their home countries many weeks in advance.

These options would eliminate the vast majority of illegal immigration, restoring order to a chaotic border.    

Biden shouldn’t give up on his policies and give in to the demands from the other side. He has already implemented severe asylum restrictions for those who cross illegally, and illegal migration is as high as ever. Now there are just more people here with no path to legalize their status.”

Additional Background and Resources