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Contact NIJC Communications Director Tara Tidwell Cullen at (312) 833-2967 or by email.

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) condemns the Biden administration’s proposed new rule that will dramatically limit access to asylum for people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. The rule — published with only a 30-day window for the public to provide comments — restricts asylum access only to people who were granted prior permission to come to the United States, are able to make an appointment to present themselves at the border using an online app, or previously sought asylum in a country or countries through which they transited.

NIJC Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy issued the following statement in response to the announcement of the rule:

“The Biden administration's proposed rule violates U.S. obligations under international and U.S. human rights law which ensures access to protection for people fleeing persecution. United States federal law specifically states that the right to seek asylum is not contingent on a person’s status or the way they come to the United States; yet with this rule, the Biden administration is creating new requirements that will result in harm and death to people who need protection and must flee their homes quickly.

“The few pathways the Biden administration announced in January to allow access to asylum for a limited number of asylum seekers from certain countries cannot be a replacement for an operational asylum system that provides a fair opportunity to seek protection for anyone who arrives seeking refuge from persecution or violence. Such programs prioritize certain asylum seekers over others, disparately restricting asylum access for Black, Brown, and Indigenous asylum seekers. The CBP One phone app, which the administration expects asylum seekers to use to schedule appointments in advance to request protection at ports of entry, already has proven to be ineffective, dysfunctional, and biased on the basis of race.

"The administration’s efforts to limit public comment on its proposed rule, with only a brief comment period of 30 days, suggests that the president already knows that this policy is a betrayal of his campaign promises. On the campaign trail, the president acknowledged that  transit-based asylum bans under the Trump administration caused human suffering and ‘contravened our values.’ Communities and asylum experts have recommended numerous solutions the administration can embrace that would both more effectively manage the U.S.-Mexico border and humanely welcome people who are seeking protection and safety. The administration’s new proposed asylum ban is unconscionable and yet another example of broken promises to immigrants and asylum seekers.”