US-Mexico Border

Letter Urging President Biden to End the Asylum Ban

August 2, 2023

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Biden,

The undersigned 203 civil, human rights, and immigrant rights organizations write in the wake of the U.S. District Court’s decision in the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant case, pertaining to your administration’s “Circumvention of Lawful Pathways” rule (“asylum ban”), to urge your administration to withdraw your recently filed appeal and stay motion and accept the court’s decision as final. More than 290 organizations wrote to express alarm when this policy was first announced at the start of this year, along with nearly 80 members of Congress echoing our distress. Tens of thousands of organizations and individuals submitted public comments opposing the ban, including many Black-led, Indigenous, Latinx, civil rights, and LGBTQ+ organizations, the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the union representing asylum officers who have now been forced to implement the illegal ban, former immigration judges, major labor unions, and members of Congress.

Your administration’s continued fight to uphold this unlawful ban on appeal flies in the face of the values and promises you held high when defending the right to seek asylum on the campaign trail. We call on you to adjust course, comply with the federal court order, and immediately end this policy. Every day the asylum ban remains intact, it inflicts immeasurable harm on people in urgent need of protection.

The court’s decision leaves no room for doubt that the asylum ban is unlawful and cannot stand. While Biden administration officials have inaccurately touted it as “working,” the grim reality is that the asylum ban is a refugee protection, humanitarian, and legal travesty. In just two months since its implementation, the ban has stranded vulnerable people in parts of Mexico where they are targets of kidnapping and violent assaults, rigged the credible fear process against people seeking asylum, and deported many without meaningful access to counsel, despite potential eligibility for asylum under U.S. law. Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ people waiting to seek asylum in the United States, as well as those without financial resources, face particular and egregious barriers, dangers, and disparities in seeking asylum due to the asylum ban.

U.S. immigration law is already replete with unduly harsh consequences. Imposing punishments on vulnerable people who may be eligible for asylum under our laws is inhumane and bolsters xenophobic narratives that falsely paint people seeking asylum as threats. We are troubled and perplexed by the counterproductive and inaccurate attempts to tout the asylum ban as responsible for the recent decrease in migrant crossings between ports of entry. In reality, this shift can be 2 attributed to effective steps you have taken to bring more individuals to safety, such as ending the illegal Title 42 policy, which spurred repeat crossings, expanding additional safe pathways, and restoring some access to asylum at ports of entry. The attempts to frame the ban as a success are also at odds with the harsh reality that many of our organizations have witnessed working closely with people waiting in Mexico to seek asylum following the ban’s implementation. A policy that strands vulnerable people in perilous conditions cannot be described as “working.” A policy that results in the deportation of individuals with meritorious asylum claims to countries where they face persecution, in violation of our laws, cannot be heralded a success.

We urge your administration to end the asylum ban and redouble your focus on effective, humane, and legal solutions, including to: strengthen and provide equitable access to your administration’s parole initiatives; fully restore asylum processing capacity at ports of entry including for people who do not have CBP One appointments; end the practice of subjecting individuals to fear screenings while in CBP custody; work with Congress to adequately fund immigration court and USCIS asylum adjudications as well as reception efforts in U.S. communities; and improve your asylum processing rule by eliminating counterproductive unworkable deadlines. Your administration has repeatedly indicated that its asylum ban would only be “temporary.” Given the judge’s clear finding that the ban is unlawful and the harm the policy has already caused, we implore you to adjust course and rescind the ban now before even more human—and legal—damage is inflicted.


Acacia Center for Justice
Afghan-American Community Organization (AACO)
Afghans For A Better Tomorrow
African Advocacy Network
African Communities Together (ACT)
African Human Rights Coalition
Al Otro Lado
Aldea – The People’s Justice Center
Alianza Americas
America’s Voice
American Gateways
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
American Immigration Council
American Immigration Lawyers Association
Americans for Immigrant Justice
Amnesty International USA
Annunciation House
Ansara Family Fund
Arkansas United
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta
Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP)
AZ Immigration Alliance
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Beyond Borders, Inc
Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
Border Kindness
Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC
California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice
Capital District Border Watch
Carroll Gardens Association
Casa San José
CATA – The Farmworker Support Committee
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Democracy in the Americas
Center for Immigration Law and Policy, UCLA School of Law
Center for Popular Democracy
Center for Victims of Torture
Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN-NY)
Central American Resource Center – DC
Central American Resource Center – CARECEN – of California
Central American Resource Center of Northern CA – CARECEN SF
Chacón Center for Immigrant Justice at UMD Carey Law
Church Women United in New York State
Church World Service
Cleveland Jobs with Justice
Coalición de Derechos Humanos
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
Coalition on Human Needs
Columbia Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic
Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim
Community Change Action
Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA)
Communities United for Status & Protection (CUSP)
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Deported Asylum Seekers Assistance Project
Detention Watch Network
Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc.
Dominican Sisters of Peace
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House, Washington DC
DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving
East Bay Refugee and Immigrant Forum
El Calvario Immigrant Advocacy Center
Faithful America
Families for Freedom
Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project
Florida Immigrant Coalition
Forward Latino
Franciscan Action Network
Freedom for Immigrants (FFI)
Freedom Network USA
Futures Without Violence
Haitian Bridge Alliance
Haitian Women’s Collective
Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program
Hispanic Federation
Hope Border Institute
Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative
Human Rights First
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
Human Rights Watch
Ignatian Solidarity Network
Immigrant Defenders Law Center
Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Immigration Equality
Immigration Hub
Immigration Institute of the Bay Area
Immigration Law & Justice Network
Immigration Services and Legal Advocacy (ISLA)
Innovation Law Lab
Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA)
Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migracion (IMUMI)
Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America
Interfaith Welcome Coalition – San Antonio
International Mayan League
International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
International Rescue Committee
InterReligious Task Force on Central America
Jericho Road Community Health Center
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
Jesuits of the US Central and Southern Province
JFCS East Bay
Journey’s End Refugee Services
Justice Action Center
Justice for Migrant Women
Justice in Motion
Just Neighbors
Kids in Need of Defense
Kino Border Initiative
La Raza Community Resource Center
Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center
Latin America Working Group EF
Law Offices of Martinez, Nguyen & Magana
Legal Aid Justice Center
Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice
Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, Loyola Law School in Los Angeles
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA)
Mariposa Legal, program of COMMON Foundation
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
Midwest Immigration Bond Fund
Minnesota Freedom Fund
Mobile Pathways
Muslim Advocates
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Employment Law Project
National Immigration Law Center
National Immigration Project (NIPNLG)
National Lawyers Guild-San Francisco Bay Area chapter
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
National Partnership for New Americans
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
New York Law School Asylum Clinic
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
Oasis Legal Services
OLA of Eastern Long Island
Our Children Oregon
Oxfam America
Pax Christi New Jersey
Physicians for Human Rights
Project ANAR
Public Advocacy for Kids (PAK)
Public Counsel
Public Law Center
Quixote Center
Rapid Response Network of Kern County
Red Jesuita con Migrantes LAC
Refugee Congress
Refugee Council USA
Refugee Health Alliance
Refugees International
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network
Sanctuary for Families
Save the Children
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team
Social Justice Collaborative
Southern Border Communities Coalition
Southern Poverty Law Center
Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice
The Advocates for Human Rights
The Bronx Defenders
The Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network
The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law’s Immigrant and Refugee
Advocacy Clinic
The Children’s Partnership
The Green Valley/Sahuarita Samaritans
The Workers Circle
Tsuru for Solidarity
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
UndocuBlack Network
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice
Unitarian Universalist Refugee & Immigrant Services & Education
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1445
United We Dream
University of Detroit Mercy Immigration Law Clinic
University of San Francisco Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic
USC Gould School of Law Immigration Clinic
Washington Defender Association
Washington Office on Latin America
We Are All America
Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration
Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center
Witness at the Border
Women’s Refugee Commission
Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

cc: Hon. Kamala D. Harris, Vice President of the United States
Hon. Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
Hon. General Merrick Garland, Attorney General, Department of Justice
Hon. Antony Blinken, Secretary, Department of State
Jeffrey Zients, White House Chief of Staff
Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor
Neera Tanden, Director, Domestic Policy Council