WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a holiday recess and a visit to the border by over 60 Republican members of Congress, the White House and Senate have returned to the budget negotiating table. Under mounting pressure from Republican lawmakers, it has been reported that Senate Democrats and the Biden administration are considering measures to drastically restrict access to asylum in exchange for support for Ukraine.
The “border deal” currently being negotiated may include Title 42-esque expulsions, expanded detention and expedited removals, gutting of parole – which has been used to protect Ukrainians – and a heightened standard in asylum interviews. Together, these extreme anti-immigrant measures would not only fast-track deportation, separate families, return vulnerable people to harm, and eliminate pathways to safety for people seeking asylum – but also breach the United States’ legal obligations under international refugee law.
Advocates have pushed back on these anti-immigrant proposals since negotiations began and continue to do so today through actions and meetings on Capitol Hill to #SaveAsylum and #ProtectImmigrants. Immigrant rights groups and allies are urging policymakers to not cave to anti-immigrant demands driven by election year politicking, and to instead bring solutions to the table that reduce USCIS backlogs, fund humane and orderly processes at the border, and support communities welcoming migrants.
Said Nicole Melaku, executive director of the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), “It is exceedingly cruel for policymakers to use vulnerable communities as bargaining chips for political gains. We hope that our immigration champions in Congress will not be baited in these negotiations to gut asylum and target immigrant communities – which will only worsen existing challenges at the border and harm New Americans and their families across the nation. We urge you to hold the line and bring forward solutions that improve our immigration system, fully resource welcoming infrastructure, and honor our nation’s long-standing responsibility to offer refuge to those in need of safety.”
The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is a multi-ethnic, multiracial coalition of 66 of the nation’s largest immigrant and refugee rights organizations with reach across over 40 states. Together with our members, we advance immigrant and refugee equity and inclusion, build and expand immigration legal services and integration programming capacity, and drive campaigns that strengthen democracy through increased civic participation. See our website for more information at partnershipfornewamericans.org