tags: Press Releases

Yes, America Can Manage the Border with Both Order and Justice. We Just Proved It.

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10,000 Ukrainians Processed at Ports of Entry over Past Two Months, Most at Single Location

Washington, DC – Separate from politicized bad faith Republican attacks on Title 42 and the border, the skepticism and concerns expressed by some other observers centers on worries about America’s capacity to manage an uptick in asylum-seekers and migrants.

Well, those worried about the Biden administration’s capacity to manage the border in a manner that integrates both order and justice should pay attention to a report from yesterday.

Over the last two months, the U.S. processed almost 10,000 Ukrainians through ports of entry, including the overwhelming majority through a single port of entry near San Diego (San Ysidro). Camilo Montoya-Galvez of CBS News reported that “10,000 Ukrainians have been processed by US border officials in the past two months, a growing and unprecedented number.” 

As the American Immigration Council’s Aaron Reichlin-Melnick responded, “Here’s what’s staggering: the overwhelming majority have been processed through the San Ysidro port of entry, in numbers larger than we’ve seen that port of entry process in nearly 6 years. This proves that we *can* process asylum seekers in large numbers at ports of entry … We’ve been telling the Biden administration forever that the goal should be to reopen the ports of entry.” As Reichlin-Melnick points out, directing people to ports of entry reduces the number of people forced to seek asylum by attempting to enter between ports of entry.

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, 

In spite of the naysayers and those predicting doom, the fact is our country can meet the moment and be a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. America has the ability to manage migration effectively, protect refugees and asylum seekers, and govern our border with both order and justice. When we put our will, resources, and commitment into it, like we did for these 10,000 Ukrainians, we are in fact able to process and protect those seeking refugee status in an orderly and humane way. If we rely on ports of entry and an orderly process that expands legal channels and ramps up processing capacity, we can reduce chaos, and reduce dangerous crossing attempts. We need to extend the same commitment to all of those seeking refugee status at our southern border, regardless of race and national origin.

Meanwhile, that these 10,000 Ukrainians felt compelled to fly to another country and try their hand at asking for asylum at the U.S./Mexico border highlights the desperate need for broader legislative reforms to modernize our immigration system. That trying to go through another country and walking to the border seems to have a better chance of success for Ukrainians than going through our regular visa channels is an indictment of just how broken the current system is. Decades of immigration reform derailed by GOP obstruction and refusal to partner with Democrats comes into sharp relief when the American people call on our government to protect people in need of safety.