2024 Asylum Advocacy
– part 2
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration launches a Campaign for Asylum Advocacy: a campaign where we will outline how the Biden administration and Congress are attempting to negotiate legislation that contains an expanding list of draconian, anti-immigrant, and anti-asylum legislative changes in exchange for funding wars and genocide. This legislation will perpetuate harmful policies that will disproportionately impact Black migrants.
As of late last week, reports indicate that President Biden’s efforts to get a bipartisan ‘border deal’ in the Senate have lost momentum due to Senate Republicans losing interest in considering further proposals on border policy. Despite the shift in attitude among Senate Republicans, President Biden remains committed to getting a law passed that restricts asylum and ‘closes’ the border. So, we must stay firm in our position. Regardless of how negotiations are currently going, we want to ensure the Biden Administration stops promoting and requesting any changes in asylum law and border policy that are anti-immigrant, anti-Black, and a direct attack on asylum-seekers. Therefore, we are continuing with the “Stop Attacking Asylum” campaign and demanding that the Biden administration put forth humanitarian policies.
Please see below for a brief explainer of each of these proposals:
- Restricting parole programs and authority
- Although parole programs are no replacement for access to asylum, they are critical mechanisms that provide a safe and predictable path to safety for many in need. Parole programs have been a lifeline for vulnerable people to reunify with their loved ones and apply for permanent protection within the safety of the United States.
- Expanding expedited removal
- Expedited removal is a summary deportation process that allows the U.S. government to arrest, detain and deport people with little due process. Under expedited removal, an individual who fails a preliminary asylum screening known as a credible fear interview can be deported without ever presenting their claim to an immigration judge, within a matter of days.
- Heightening credible fear standards
- The credible fear standard determines who gets access to the asylum process; if it is heightened, people with legitimate asylum claims will get deported back to persecution, in violation of U.S. obligations under international refugee and human rights law. A heightened standard would lock the entry door to tens of thousands of asylum seekers with strong legal claims to protection.
- Codifying a permanent “transit ban” or “safe third country” ban
- A transit ban will bar nearly all asylum seekers who traveled through another country to the U.S. southern border unless they applied for asylum and were denied protection in one of those countries. This type of ban would force refugees to seek asylum in transit countries where they would not be safe from persecution or have access to meaningful asylum procedures.
- New expulsion authority like Title 42
- This would resurrect Trump-era Title 42 mass expulsions without using public health as a pretense to expel people at the U.S. border rapidly. Therefore, in violation of the International Refugee Convention, which prohibits the United States from returning refugees to persecution or torture.
- Capping asylum grants
- This will either force individuals seeking protection to wait in deadly conditions in Mexico or exponentially add to existing backlogs. It would also lead to family separation and deprive bona fide asylum seekers of legal status and a path to citizenship.
- Mass, mandatory detention
- This proposal may require the detention of every family or individual, including children, apprehended by DHS until the end of their immigration case.
The impact of the above-listed proposed policies will ultimately affect Black migrants the most. As we are still dealing with the fallout of the 1994 Crime Bill and 1996 Immigration Reforms, these potential provisions will only exacerbate the harm.
Black migrants from Africa are already being subject to detention and ankle shackles disproportionately. In the Uncovering Truth report, we collaborated on with other partners, we found that Black migrants account for only 6% of people in ICE detention, and 28% of all abuse-related reports came from Black migrants, which indicates that Black people detained are disproportionately abused.
The imprisonment of Asylum-seekers is based on the racist policies that saw Black Haitians detained in Florida and Guantanamo Bay. At the same time, white Cubans were let into the country. We saw similar racial inequities with Ukrainians vs. Black and Brown migrants at the US southern border. Expanding detention and expedited removal is a recommitment to racist carceral immigration policies.
These immigration rules allow the US to evade the responsibility to provide asylum protections while imposing stricter penalties at its southern border under Title 8. We must hold the Biden Administration accountable and demand humane immigration policies.