The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) condemns the border expulsion legislation, S.1473, proposed by Senators Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC). If enacted, the legislation would eviscerate the United States asylum system and result in mass expulsions to Mexico and mandatory detention of families, unaccompanied children and other people fleeing violence and danger.
The bill is an extreme enforcement-only approach to immigration that offers no lawful pathways or humanitarian protections for immigrants and arriving asylum seekers. It simultaneously would compel the Department of Homeland Security to carry out a detention and expulsion program that would exacerbate failures in border management while inflicting human pain and suffering.
“Blocking access to asylum, as the U.S. government has for the past three years, only puts people in further danger and leads to increased dysfunction, including repeated border crossings without meaningful processing,” said NIJC Associate Director of Policy Nayna Gupta. “Expelling asylum seekers has resulted in more family separations, with families desperate to get their children to safety while facing relentless pushbacks into Mexican border towns. There is no justification for continuing such inhumane and ineffective policies, much less writing them into our laws.”
While the co-sponsors have presented this legislation as a two-year “extension” of the Title 42 expulsion authority, which ends today, the bill would actually write into U.S. immigration law, for the first time, the Trump-era “detain and expel” regime. The bill would codify onerous and high legal standards that would result in the detention and expulsion of nearly all migrants who arrive at the southern border without authorization, regardless of whether they have a right to asylum under international and U.S. law. This would include unaccompanied children and families who would have no opportunity to seek protection in the United States.
NIJC urges members of Congress to reject S.1473 which subjects people seeking safety–including children and families–to detention and expulsion in the name of cynical and dehumanizing politics. NIJC urges members of Congress to work alongside experts and advocates to implement humane and effective responses to the humanitarian challenge at the border as the United States takes overdue steps to end Title 42.