New York, NY, December 8, 2023 — Hans Van de Weerd, IRC’s Senior Vice President for Resettlement, Asylum, and Integration (RAI) stated, “Asylum is a lifeline for people forced to flee their homes due to persecution, torture, and conflict. Reports that measures are being considered that would undermine this vital protection are deeply alarming. Creating yet more bans on asylum, setting arbitrary limits on the number of people who can be granted protection, and vastly expanding expedited deportations that do not provide a fair chance to be heard would run completely counter to the humane, fair and orderly asylum system the Biden administration has pledged to establish.
“These drastic changes to asylum law are unlikely to reduce the number of people seeking refuge at the border but are certain to penalize people forced to seek protection outside their countries, as we have seen with the asylum ban currently in place. These measures will also undermine efforts to make asylum processes at the southern border and beyond more orderly, as people take more dangerous paths looking for refuge. Such counterproductive actions by the United States could add further fuel to a disturbing trend by wealthy countries of denying fair access to asylum despite hosting a small fraction of refugees globally.
“We urge the U.S. Congress and the Biden administration to work in a bipartisan manner to uphold the fundamental right to seek asylum, work to expand and improve safe and orderly pathways to protection, like humanitarian parole, support border and interior communities providing humane reception to people seeking safety in the United States, and resource the asylum system to provide more timely and fair decisions.”