While new parole program offers hope for some, RCUSA condemns limits on asylum

Washington, DC – On January 5th, President Biden announced the “Process for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans” (Process for CHNV), which aims to provide a new pathway to enter the United States. The Process for CHNV builds on the Venezuelan parole program launched in October 2022. This marks yet another use by the Biden administration of nationality-specific humanitarian parole – a temporary entry status that allows beneficiaries to live and work in the United States, but without the opportunity for support services or permanent protection that are made available to resettled refugees and those granted asylum. As was the case of the preceding Process for Venezuelans, beneficiaries of the Process for CHNV must have a sponsor in the United States and a valid passport, and must enter by air, and not a land port of entry.

Shockingly, the administration has tied these new pathways to policies that would ban or expel people seeking refuge, including by expanding the application of the widely discredited Title 42 program, under which expulsions turn away vulnerable individuals and families, many of whom then suffer horrific harms. The Biden administration has also indicated it will propose the imposition of a ban on people seeking asylum at the border – which, despite its potential exceptions, mimics policies advanced by the Trump administration.

“We acknowledge that the new parole initiative offers hope to many – such as some Haitians facing life-threatening circumstances in their home country and seeking to reunite with loved ones in the US,” said RCUSA Executive Director John Slocum. “But this hope should not and must not be shackled to further bans and limitations on asylum that violate our domestic and international legal obligations. When it comes to migration and refugee policy, the US should be leading by example in protecting refugees seeking asylum, rather than using policies that ban and expel people seeking refugee protection at our borders. The last thing the United States should be doing is adopting policies that link safe pathways to bans on asylum – an approach that would undermine refugee protection globally.”

RCUSA joins with many other organizations in strongly condemning the expansion of Title 42 and any policies that limit access to asylum. We call on President Biden to uphold refugee law and protect all of those who seek asylum – regardless of their country of origin or access to resources – and to reject any plan to impose an asylum ban.

Media Contact: Sarah Seniuk, sseniuk@rcusa.org

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.