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Demands End to Expedited Removal Programs that Punish People Seeking Asylum in the U.S.

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) applauds the Biden administration’s decision to extend and redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelans who have been in the United States since July 31, 2023. The administration also announced changes that could improve work authorization access for some people who apply for asylum and other legal protections, while simultaneously doubling down on punitive rapid deportation programs that target people who have more recently come to the United States to seek asylum.

National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy responded to the announcement with the following statement:

“Redesignating TPS for Venezuelans and easing access to work authorization for people seeking asylum are important steps to allow people who have been forced to leave their homes and sought safety in the United States to have access to some economic security, safety, and dignity as they begin the process of applying for permanent legal protection. NIJC is grateful that thousands of new community members who have recently arrived in U.S. cities — including individuals and families whom Chicagoans have been welcoming warmly for more than a year — will now have the opportunity to earn an income, secure housing, and support their families.

“The administration should be ashamed, however, that it continues to unjustly block many more people and families from the right to seek asylum protection in the United States. As the administration announced the redesignation of Venezuelan TPS it also, alarmingly, highlighted the unprecedented number of deportations it has carried out against parents and children in recent months under the Family Expedited Removal Management (FERM) program. FERM has punished thousands of asylum-seeking families by placing them under house arrest and surveillance while rushing them through a rapid deportation process that denies the majority of migrants from access to legal counsel. FERM has also disparately impacted Indigenous families, who frequently encounter multiple layers of systemic harm as they face imminent removal with neither counsel nor language interpretation access.

“As NIJC welcomes yesterday’s important announcements about TPS and work authorization access, we also reiterate our demands that the Biden administration uphold U.S. asylum law, end the FERM program, and ensure access to protection for all who come seeking safety.”