Today, the House Committee on Homeland Security will markup the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023, a bill filled with extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric and proposals. The bill fails to put forward any reasonable solutions or provide any logical plan for efficient management along the U.S. southern border. Instead, it follows a troubling trend where some members of Congress are using hearings as a platform to spread anti-immigrant hatred and white supremacist ideas. In February, NIJC submitted written testimony calling on Congress to reject hateful rhetoric that furthers misinformation regarding migrants and the U.S. immigration system. NIJC now urges members of Congress to vote no on the latest hate-based legislative package, which represents a dangerous form of lawmaking rooted in fear and xenophobia.
The Border Reinforcement Act of 2023 brings together a variety of hateful proposals that take aim at migrants and people seeking asylum, including by expanding the harmful border wall and cutting vital services for families and children. This bill, if implemented, would:
- force the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to violate the law by denying asylum seekers entry between ports of entry,
- allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to bypass laws to expand the border wall,
- prevent non-governmental organizations (NGO) from providing essential services to immigrant communities,
- and cut funding for vital case management and shelter services.
The United States has the moral and legal obligation to ensure asylum access to those arriving at U.S. borders and ports. Policies that uphold this obligation are vital to protect the rights of migrants and are central to a functioning border processing system. NIJC has proposed and continues to call on Congress to pursue effective humanitarian solutions to receive and process newly arriving migrants seeking to rebuild their lives. The United States must shift away from punishing migrants arriving at the U.S. southern border and Congress must allocate resources towards processing and humanitarian needs.
Jesse Franzblau is senior policy analyst at NIJC.