Americans for Immigrant Justice Calls on President Biden and the U.S. Congress to Protect Asylum and Immigrant Communities

December 11, 2023
For Immediate Release
Contact: [email protected]

MIAMI, FL — Americans for Immigrant Justice is deeply concerned by new reports that the White House is considering drastic and highly politicized changes to asylum policy to secure Congressional support for its supplemental funding request. These contemplated changes seek to eliminate access to asylum by heightening the legal standard for initial fear screenings and imposing a ban on asylum for individuals who pass through another country on their way to the U.S. and are not first denied asylum there. Congress is also reportedly negotiating over a nationwide expansion of the fast-tracked expedited removal process, which allows immigration officials to summarily deport an individual without further process unless they claim a fear of returning to their home country.

“No matter what we look like or where we come from, most of us strive to treat others the way we want to be treated,” said Shalyn Fluharty, Executive Director at Americans for Immigrant Justice. “If any one of us feared for our lives or for our loved ones, we would want to know that others would help us to safety. But the White House and Congress are trying to shut the door on those who require protection with over-expansive and rash policy changes that target all immigrants, including those who reside within our communities. Elected officials hope we will turn the other way while they endanger families who have been forced to flee their homes and strip our neighbors of their right to present their claims to an immigration judge before being deported without any process at all. We will not fall for that. If our President and Congress are serious about creating a fair and effective asylum process, they must show it with true, comprehensive reform, not mid-night side-deals that harm our communities and defy our values. We stand ready to assist in the creation of sensible policies that support an asylum system we can all be proud of. Destroying it is not the answer.”

Recently, Americans for Immigrant Justice joined 192 organizations in urging the Biden Administration to defend the right to seek asylum and reject Congressional attempts to limit asylum access. However, on Wednesday, President Biden stated his willingness to make “significant compromises on the border.”

“To be clear, these proposed policy changes would be deadly for families and individuals seeking protection at the southern border and would also allow for the rapid deportation of people who have been living in the United States for years—tearing apart communities, separating families, and causing lasting harm,” said Cindy Woods, National Policy Counsel at Americans for Immigrant Justice. “President Biden must stand by his own Executive Order to Restore Faith in Our Legal Immigration System. The proposed policies on the table would decimate that system.”

Congress will continue to negotiate through the end of the week before leaving for holiday break.