Biden’s asylum rule will endanger lives

Washington, DC – The Biden administration has formally proposed a new rule on asylum that would severely limit access to asylum along the southern border, endangering the lives of countless individuals and families by obstructing their ability and legal right to seek asylum. Beyond a few exceptions, this proposed rule would prevent people from seeking asylum at a port of entry if they have not scheduled an appointment through the CBP One mobile app, or are unable to demonstrate that they sought and were denied asylum by one of the countries they traveled through.

In January, when the administration first revealed its plans for this proposed rule were first revealed, RCUSA and nearly 30 executives from the coalition – representing service providers, community members, legal experts and advocates – sent a letter to President Biden protesting the proposed rule. Now that the rule has been formally proposed, RCUSA adds its voice to the many civil society organizations that have spoken out in strong opposition to it.

“It is disturbing to see the Biden Administration move forward with a rule which would reintroduce key elements of former President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda,” said RCUSA Executive Director John Slocum. “The administration is framing this rule as a  tool to facilitate  the orderly processing of asylum seekers once Title 42 expires. But the reality is that, under the proposed rule, many of those who most need protection may not be able to access it, or will be left at risk while waiting for appointments. To reiterate what movement leaders told President Biden in January: any attempt to ban, limit, or disrupt access to asylum opposes both domestic and international law. This rule will undoubtedly place vulnerable people and families in increasingly dangerous positions if it is allowed to come into effect.”

Policies enacted under then-President Trump – such as Trump’s own transit ban, Title 42 and the so-called “Remain in Mexico” – had devastating impacts on people seeking asylum, putting many of their lives in danger. RCUSA urges the Biden Administration to rescind the proposed rule immediately, and to honor President Biden’s campaign promises to fully restore access to asylum.

Media Contact: Sarah Seniuk

RCUSA is a diverse coalition advocating for just and humane laws and policies, and the promotion of dialogue and communication among government, civil society, and those who need protection and welcome. Individual RCUSA members do not all address all refugee-related issues, nor do all individual members approach common refugee-related issues identically.