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When the new administration took office, we proposed 10 steps they could take immediately to help immigrant survivors of violence. Now, after 100 days, we’re checking in to see what they’ve done to ensure justice for immigrant survivors. 

  1. Make it clear that survivors of gender-based violence can qualify for asylum. Revoke rules that aim to end asylum for all, and for survivors specifically. Repeal cases decided by the previous administration, like Matter of A-B-, that have unjustly made access to asylum more difficult for survivors. 

Action Status: In Progress 

The administration hasn’t acted to officially repeal harmful policies, although they are not appealing various preliminary injunctionsWe’re currently in the same climate of fear environment with Matter of A-B- and a lack of protections for survivors of gender-based violence. We will continue to call on the administration to make access to asylum more accessible for all survivors, specifically survivors of gender-based violence. 

  1. End the illegal “Remain in Mexico” policy, also known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which has sent more than 67,000 asylum seekers to Mexico to wait out the remainder of their cases, where they are at risk of kidnapping, assault, and torture. Allow people arriving at the border to safely seek asylum from within the U.S. again, a right protected under U.S. immigration law.

Action Status: In Progress  

The administration announced they would no longer place asylum seekers within the bounds of the harmful “Remain in Mexico” policy that placed countless individuals in danger. However, not all asylum seekers have been brought back to the U.S. for their immigration proceedings. 

  1. Stop mandating the prosecution of immigrants. Current procedures require immigration officers to unduly prosecute and detain nearly all individuals coming to the borders, including traumatized survivors with applications for relief.

Action Status: In Progress 

Although children and individuals remain in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, the number of detained children has decreased significantly in recent weeks. We encourage the administration to continue releasing children from detention, as it is a physically and mentally harmful practice.  

  1. Repeal the Title 42 policy that shuttered the border due to the pandemic under the guise of unfounded public health concerns and that DHS has used to illegally deny refugees their right to seek asylum.

Action Status: No Action Taken 

The administration is still using Title 42 policy to illegally deny most refugees other than unaccompanied children their right to seek asylum. There is no public health rationale for blocking people from seeking asylum and it is time for the administration to welcome people seeking safety in the U.S. 

  1. Hire more judges and officers to reduce the extreme backlog of asylum cases and improve the quality of application reviews. All new and existing judges and officers should receive trauma-informed training to handle gender-based asylum cases; training should also address diversity and inclusion topics.

Action Status: No Action Taken 

While the administration has not yet taken concrete steps, they are considering an overhaul of the asylum system at the U.S. southern border that includes removing some asylum cases from the immigration courts and instead having them decided by asylum officers in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

  1. Increase protections for survivors with pending cases. Immediately start issuing work permits for survivors with pending U visa cases as required by law, so that they can safely work while their cases are being reviewed. Hire more adjudicators to help reduce the extreme backlog of VAWA and U visa cases. Require training in gender-based violence and the impacts of trauma for all new and existing officers.

Action Status: No Action Taken  

We have seen no steps taken from the administration to increase protections for survivors with pending cases. We still see an extreme backlog of VAWA and U visa cases, and we have yet to see required training in gender-based violence and the impacts of trauma for all officers. 

  1. Release detained migrants and enlist community support programs instead. Imprisonment is mentally and physically harmful. Survivors instead need access to trauma-informed care, which community support programs are specifically equipped to provide.

Action Status: In Progress 

Asylum seekers and survivors of violence remain in detention; however, the administration has released many previously detained families and children, which is a step in the right direction. Detention is mentally and physically harmful, and survivors instead need access to trauma-informed care, which community support programs are specifically equipped to provide. 

  1. Stop using expedited removal – fast-tracked deportation – within the U.S. and at the border. If used at all, the preliminary screening interview must be conducted by an asylum officer specially trained to work with survivors of trauma.

Action Status: No Action Taken 

The administration continues to use expedited removal—a discretionary option that has become the default, causing the inhumane, prolonged, and costly detention of immigrants and woefully backlogged courts. Additionally, we are very concerned that the previous administration’s expansion of expedited removal has not been rolled back.  

  1. Repeal the so-called “Safe Third Country” agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras (the Northern Triangle countries), which the U.S. government has used to outsource our responsibility to extend refuge to victims of persecution. 

Action Status: In Progress 

The administration announced in February that the so-called “Safe Third Country” agreements would be undone, and while there is temporary relief for asylum seekers, no permanent actions have been taken to end the harmful rule. Under these agreements, asylum seekers approaching the U.S. border can be deported to the Northern Triangle to theoretically seek asylum there, where to the contrary, they are at risk of further violence. 

  1. Repeal or stop all procedural changes in the courts that violate due process which make it harder for immigrants to find legal counsel, arbitrarily block access to relief, and create significant inefficiencies and compound delays.

Action Status: In Progress 

There is some temporary relief for survivors of violence, but we have not seen permanent solutions to reverse changes that violate due process, ultimately making it harder for immigrant survivors of violence to gain legal protection for which they could be entitled, and further fueling a climate of fear.