Dear President Biden, 

We are writing to share our deep concern about your administration’s proposed “asylum ban,” which would prevent many people fleeing violence and persecution from finding safety in the United States. 

Over the past two years, we have been heartened by your administration’s efforts to welcome people seeking safety, whether that is by increasing refugee admissions, welcoming Afghans, Ukrainians and others fleeing the world’s worst humanitarian crises, or expanding opportunities for Americans to help refugees resettle in their communities. 

We are afraid, however, that the administration’s proposed new asylum regulations run contrary to these aims. 

Seeking asylum is legal and a human right, long recognized in both U.S. and international law. The proposed policy runs contrary to this, robbing many asylum seekers of a fair chance to present their case to an immigration judge. It is similar to measures introduced by the Trump Administration that were repeatedly blocked by federal courts.

Under the new policy, asylum seekers who have to travel through a third country to reach the U.S. would be barred unless they have already applied for and been denied asylum in that country or make an appointment at the border through a new smartphone app which offers limited appointment availability and is plagued with technological and accessibility issues.

These restrictions are unfeasible and impractical, and force asylum seekers into danger. Most asylum seekers travel to the U.S. through Mexico, which is already one of the largest recipients of asylum applications. Although a viable country for some asylum seekers, the country faces record levels of violence and is not a safe place for many. 

A record high of over 100 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and persecution. The Biden Administration has made great strides in reasserting the U.S.’s role as a humanitarian world leader and safe haven for people seeking safety. We urge you to maintain this commitment, to rescind these proposed regulations, and to build back an asylum system in the U.S. that is safe, orderly and humane. 

We also understand Congress’s responsibility in this regard and call on legislators to do their part by appropriating robust funding to provide dignified reception at the border, orderly case support services to ensure fair adjudications, and an efficient resolution to the yearslong backlog of asylum seeker cases. 


IRC Ambassadors Piper Perabo, Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody, Morena Baccarin

Joined By:

Mia Farrow, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Andrew Zimmern, Ebony Obsidian, Aisha Tyler, Sepideh Moafi, Gideon Grody-Patinkin, Nzingha Stewart, Sarah Spain, Calum Worthy, Adam Countee, Tala Ashe, TRISHES

Learn more about President Biden's proposed "asylum ban"