Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, the administration announced a new set of measures in anticipation of the termination of Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that restricts access to asylum and expels migrants at the Southern border. Though it is promising to see the administration focusing on addressing the needs of refugees within the Western Hemisphere — increasing resettlement, expanding family reunification opportunities, and establishing new regional processing centers in Colombia, Guatemala and other countries — such improvements should not come at the expense of meaningful access to asylum along our southern border.
“We cannot yet know the true impact these sweeping new proposals will have on refugees and displaced people within the Americas. While they hold promise we have very little information. As ever, the devil will be in the details of implementation and much remains to be seen,” said Archi Pyati, CEO at the Tahirih Justice Center. “While these proposals might be helpful to those seeking protection, including survivors of violence, who can access processing centers in other countries, the fact remains that if this administration moves forward with the asylum ban rule, those seeking asylum at the border are likely to be denied access to justice.”
While more appointments at ports of entry are welcome, we heard nothing yesterday that increased our confidence in the functioning of the CBP One app and remain deeply concerned about functionality and equity. The fact remains that under our own laws individuals who have fled persecution and made it to our southern border have a every right to request asylum no matter where or when they enter, with or without an appointment made through an app that has proven less than reliable.
We also know that expedited processing will mean that immigrant survivors of gender-based and other violence will be rushed through the system far too quickly. Trauma and lack of access counsel will make it nearly impossible to make a successful claim for protection before being swiftly sent back into harm’s way.
While there is some hope that parts of this plan represent a step in the right direction, Tahirih and all of the thousands of others who commented in opposition to the proposed asylum ban rule, remain concerned that this will not solve significant problems with our immigration system that are rooted in exclusion, deterrence, and a lack of respect for the rights and dignity of survivors and others fleeing persecution.
We urge the administration to work closely with partner organizations that advocate for migrants and refugees to ensure that people seeking asylum have access to necessary resources as they embark on their journey to safety.
For further comments on this topic, please email [email protected].
The Tahirih Justice Center is a national, nonprofit organization that serves women, girls, and all immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. By amplifying the experiences of survivors, Tahirih’s mission is to create a world in which all people share equal rights and live in safety and with dignity.