In response to a White House supplemental funding request, U.S. senators have released text of a proposed funding bill designed to implement extreme anti-asylum and detention policies that would fail to effectively address migration challenges at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In short, the bill would: violate the Refugee Convention by closing the border to people seeking safety after a certain number of people have already arrived; dramatically expand the use of immigration detention to punish those who try to seek asylum with incarceration; exacerbate humanitarian and operational challenges at the border; and make asylum largely un-obtainable for those who are permitted to request it at ports of entry.
In response to this proposal, the National Immigrant Justice Center’s Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy stated the following:
“President Biden campaigned three years ago on the promise of restoring America’s historic status as a safe haven for refugees and asylum seekers. Now near the end of his presidential term he is threatening to close the southern border and shepherd legislation which would violate humanitarian norms and international refugee law. The proposals in this bill would subject people to summary expulsions, draconian screenings designed to fail, or mandatory incarceration simply because they are exercising their right to seek refuge. This proposal fails to provide an effective response to increases in global humanitarian displacement.
“Our asylum laws were drafted in the wake of the horrors of World War II, where the United States turned away nearly one thousand Jewish people fleeing for their lives. Decades later, U.S. senators and the White House seem prepared to revert to asylum policy grounded in bigoted and xenophobic values.
“The Biden administration and Congress must remember the value and richness that immigrants and asylum seekers have brought to the United States for decades. Passing this law would be co-signing a death sentence for hundreds of thousands of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, including children, who need protection. The National Immigrant Justice Center urges the U.S. Senate to resoundingly reject this proposal.”