Washington, DC (July 30, 2021) The Biden administration has entrenched its use of two anti-asylum policies that have blocked asylum seekers from seeking safety, separated families, and caused immeasurable harm. The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) strongly condemns the administration’s continued use of expedited removal and unlawful expulsions.
According to media reports, the administration continues to stand by the Trump-era Title 42 expulsion policy that weaponizes public health to close the U.S. border to migrants and asylum seekers. Public health experts overwhelmingly stress a lack of a valid public health rationale for denying admission to people based on immigration status.
This week the administration also announced that it would reinstate expedited removal for families. This procedure will particularly harm individuals whom Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers record as not expressing fear during their initial screening—despite evidence that CBP routinely fails to conduct these initial screenings humanely and fairly.
NIJC Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy issued the following statement:
“As the world celebrates the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, the Biden administration’s policies are rushing asylum seekers to harm and death.
“Expedited removal was born out of deeply harmful 1990s rhetoric that criminalized migrants and asylum seekers and sought to thwart their entry by all means necessary. Entrusting CBP, despite extensive evidence that they routinely fail to screen for protection and display racial bias, is dangerous and irresponsible.
“The prior administration exploited a 1940s quarantine law to implement Title 42 and undermine decades of superseding domestic and international asylum law. The impact on asylum seekers has been predictably devastating. The Biden administration has not only kept this policy in place but doubled the number of summary expulsions—which have reached nearly one million since the policy was first implemented.
“The Biden administration promised to create a humane asylum system. There is nothing humane about embracing racist and unlawful summary expulsions that seal the border while placing blame on families and rushing them back to harm. These policies are designed to block Black, Brown, and Indigenous people from receiving protection. It is past time for the Biden administration to end this punitive approach to asylum and border processing.”