Biden Administration’s Proposed Asylum Ban is Harmful and Inhumane, HIAS Says

SILVER SPRING, Md. — HIAS is condemning proposed policies introduced today by the Biden administration that would amount to a virtual asylum ban. The change would deny access to protection to most people who have not already applied for protection in any other country they passed through on their journey to the United States, or to those who entered the United States without inspection and authorization. We ask that the administration immediately withdraw the rule.

“We are deeply disappointed that the administration is proposing this highly restrictive asylum policy, which HIAS and a number of other organizations and congregations have described as harmful, inhumane, and deadly for the most vulnerable,” said HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield.

HIAS has been urging the administration not to move forward with issuing this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). “This notice is the first step in making the asylum ban a reality — a reality that would imperil people seeking safety at the U.S.-Mexico border,” Hetfield said. “This policy will effectively prohibit most asylum seekers from exercising their right to seek safety in the U.S., and will force many vulnerable people to remain in situations that could endanger their lives.”

Hetfield said that though the new policy is meant to be temporary for a period of two years, it can be renewed. “Unless these sweeping asylum changes are stopped by the courts, they will be very hard to undo and could be with us for a long time.” He noted further that though this policy change would be significant, the 30-day comment period is exceptionally short and does not provide adequate time for response.

“While we recognize that there are real challenges at the border, those challenges require planning and solutions,” Hetfield continued. “This new policy will not filter out people with weak asylum claims — instead, it will prevent the most vulnerable from accessing the asylum system altogether.”

“Jewish history shows us that the U.S. must ensure access to asylum and not turn people away and send them back to the danger they’ve fled,” Hetfield said. “Many of our families and communities still bear the scars of being denied access to safety when our very lives were at stake. As a humanitarian organization founded on the Jewish moral imperative to welcome the stranger, we at HIAS raise our voices as Americans and as Jews, to insist that our government can and must do better to create a safe and orderly process for those seeking asylum at our border.”


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