President Biden Must Respect the Right to Asylum

On Tuesday, the Biden Administration released its most restrictive immigration policy thus far – effectively barring most migrants who reach our Southern border from applying for asylum in the United States. Under the proposed rule, migrants who reach the US-Mexico border without a scheduled appointment to meet with a US immigration official or without having applied for protection in countries they have traveled through will be deemed ineligible for asylum, with almost no exceptions.

Every day at Sanctuary for Families, we work with hundreds of immigrant survivors — women, children, men, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ individuals — who have fled gender-based violence in their home countries and fear persecution or death if forced to return. Many of our clients fear being forced to return to partners who have brutally beaten them in the past. Others fear being forced into a marriage against their will, falling victim to family honor killings, or being subjected to female genital mutilation upon return.

The Administration’s proposed rule blatantly disregards President Biden’s campaign promise to roll back Trump’s racist, xenophobic immigration policies. Instead, it further endangers the most vulnerable — women, girls, and LGBTQ+ survivors — and those seeking freedom from violence.

Seeking asylum is a human right. The proposed rule is both inhumane and against US and international law. In 2020, the courts blocked a similar immigration policy proposed by the Trump Administration. Sanctuary hopes the courts will follow precedent and strike down the Biden Administration’s proposed rule.

We call on President Biden and Congress to respect the right to asylum, rescind the proposed measure, and work toward creating a humane system that prioritizes the safety and well-being of immigrant survivors.