The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is alarmed by new executive actions announced today that would further restrict asylum and urges the Biden Administration to reconsider and rescind this harmful action. These actions would limit the number of people able to exercise their legal right to seek safety at the southern border and weaken refugee protection standards in violation of U.S. law. The asylum shutdown provisions could lead to increased misinformation and push people seeking safety toward more dangerous routes, further jeopardizing their lives. This executive action is counterproductive to a humane, safe, and orderly asylum system.

Hans Van de Weerd, IRC’s Senior Vice President for Resettlement, Asylum, and Integration, said: 

“America’s asylum system needs upgrading to adapt to historic levels of global displacement and address the humanitarian challenges host communities face. Solutions we know work are nowhere to be found in this executive action. Instead, it doubles down on deterrence policies that are ineffective, misguided, and deeply harmful to families and individuals seeking safety at the southern border. It sends a counterproductive message to other countries hosting people seeking safety that refugees can be turned away at will. 

“People seeking asylum in this country significantly contribute to American communities, including economically. They fill essential jobs, start new businesses, and pay taxes. These contributions would also be endangered under this counterproductive policy and could lead to dramatic knock-on effects on local communities and economies.

"The Biden administration should harness the ongoing efforts of federal, state, and local entities, nongovernmental organizations, and community groups and coordinate a strategy that would provide a safe, humane, and orderly reception process. It should continue to work under existing law to expand safe pathways to protection that can alleviate pressure at the southern border. Congress also needs to do its part by supporting border and interior communities with robust funding for reception and for a fair and timely asylum process that meets current forced displacement realities.” 


The Biden Administration and Congress should reject counterproductive proposals that would gut asylum protections and instead take bipartisan action to adopt solutions that would:

Contrary to the authority cited in the Executive Order that treats families and individuals arriving at the border as “detrimental to the interests of the United States,” overwhelming evidence shows that refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigrants greatly benefit America: