Washington, DC – After three years of harming families and vulnerable asylum seekers, the Trump-era Title 42 policy is finally set to end. Thousands of people have been denied their legal rights to seek asylum and stranded along the southern border with no clarity on if and how they might finally be able to secure refuge. President Biden campaigned on promises to restore refugee resettlement and asylum. But this administration has continuously recreated policies that further strip individuals of their legal right to seek asylum. Now, as Title 42 comes to an end, the Biden administration has published its final “Circumvention of Legal Pathways” rule, or asylum ban, which will have the effect of disqualifying most people from seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border.
“It is extremely distressing that President Biden is choosing to violate domestic and international law by restricting the right to asylum,” said RCUSA Executive Director John Slocum. “There can be no doubt that the execution of this rule will result in harm and trauma for some of the world’s most vulnerable people. This administration seems to have forgotten that those who are waiting along our southern border are families and individuals fleeing violence, persecution, and danger; and is instead treating them as a logistics problem to be solved. RCUSA restates our condemnation of this rule, and any further attempts to limit access to asylum.”
Thirty of the RCUSA coalition’s member executives wrote to President Biden in January urging him to reject its proposal; once it was formally introduced RCUSA again responded by joining thousands of public comment submissions. Warnings from advocates, policy experts, and direct service providers illustrating the consequences of this rule have gone unheeded. The US has historically set an example for humanitarian leadership and welcome. By choosing to ban asylum in contradiction of both US and international laws, it sets a disturbing and dangerous precedent for other countries to follow.
RCUSA will continue to advocate for the restoration of asylum, all US humanitarian protection programs, and the rights of people to move safely and freely.
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.