Immigrant advocates denounce US ‘Asylum Transit Ban’ plan

Source: Loop News
New York immigration advocates have denounced an “Asylum Transit Ban” plan by the Joe Biden administration that would block asylum applications from Caribbean and other asylum seekers who travelled through third countries en route to the United States but did not apply for asylum.

The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), an umbrella policy and advocacy organization that represents over 200 immigrant and refugee rights groups, said this proposed rule favours more affluent asylum seekers and needlessly excludes others from the United States.

It urged the Biden administration to expand protections for all asylum seekers, including those from Haiti, Cuba and Venezuela.

“A just, humane immigration system is an important and necessary part of a healthy democracy and a growing economy,” NYIC executive director Murad Awawdeh told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

“However, the Biden administration’s proposed ‘Asylum Transit Ban’ rule is a blatant and ruthless attack on our humanitarian obligations, and the children and families seeking refuge from violence and persecution in our country.

“The transit ban cruelly favours wealthier asylum seekers coming to the United States via air travel over those who travel by foot to seek asylum at our borders. These unnecessary and arbitrary exclusions privilege some asylum seekers over others on the basis of wealth and is a shockingly inhumane proposal from the Biden administration.

“Despite campaign promises to deliver solutions for our immigration system, President Biden is instead reviving discriminatory Trump-era policies that endanger people and undermine one of our proudest traditions as a welcoming nation by recycling a policy that never had a place in America’s future,” Awawdeh said.

He said the Biden administration must end this policy “once and for all but also work with Congress to reform the asylum system, so it is fair, efficient and has integrity”.

Co-director of organizing of Make the Road New York, Yaritza Mendez, described the proposed rule as “reckless.”

He said the move by the Biden administration would bring “further harm to asylum-seekers and violate their rights.

“We are extremely disappointed that President Biden continues to attempt to gut the asylum system and mimic the unlawful actions of the previous administration. People have the right to seek asylum; we must provide asylum seekers due process and the opportunity to have their claims heard.

“We urge the administration to immediately reverse course on this proposed policy and instead refocus its efforts on investing to support asylum-seekers who are looking for safety and protection,” he told CMC.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a joint statement on Tuesday that they were “issuing a proposed rule to incentivize the use of new and existing lawful processes and disincentivize dangerous border crossings by placing a new condition on asylum eligibility for those who fail to do so.

“These steps are being taken in response to the unprecedented western hemispheric migration challenges – the greatest displacement of people since World War II – and the absence of congressional action to update a very broken, outdated immigration system.”

DHS said it continues to prepare for the lifting of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 Public Health Order, which is expected on May 11, 2023, and the return to processing all noncitizens under Title 8 immigration authorities.

“Until then, the Title 42 order remains in effect, and individuals who attempt to enter the United States without authorization will continue to be expelled,” the statement said.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas, said “we are a nation of immigrants, and we are a nation of laws. We are strengthening the availability of legal, orderly pathways for migrants to come to the United States, at the same time proposing new consequences on those who fail to use processes made available to them by the United States and its regional partners”.

They said the Biden administration’s border enforcement measures, “which couple expanded safe, orderly, and lawful processes and consequences for those who do not avail themselves of these orderly processes, are working to reduce irregular migration.”

They said January saw the lowest level of encounters between the ports of entry since February 2021.

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