This World Refugee Day, the U.S. should redouble its efforts to address the regional displacement crisis in the Americas by increasing its commitments to refugee protection.
The U.S. has historically been a global humanitarian leader; now, its leadership is sorely needed to address the protracted humanitarian crises in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. By investing in humanitarian assistance in the region, supporting opportunities for safety and protection in communities of first refuge, and addressing the leading root causes of migration, the U.S. government can form a comprehensive response to the regional humanitarian crisis.
The Biden administration should also expand resettlement from the Western Hemisphere. Over the last half century, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) has been a bipartisan initiative that has offered new hope to more than three million refugees. The administration has an opportunity to leverage this humanitarian program as part of its protection-forward solution to prioritize the safety of refugees in the region.
Finally, the Biden administration has committed to reversing anti-asylum policies and rebuilding a safe, humane and orderly asylum system. Current detention and expulsion policies implemented by USG have failed to reflect promised protections outlined in domestic and international laws for vulnerable individuals who have a legal right to seek asylum. The development of a fair and credible asylum system that welcome asylum seekers is dependent on the ability for individuals fleeing persecution to have the right to access protection without government-sanctioned inhumane practices, barriers, and bans.