HIAS Opposes Secure the Border Act of 2023

SILVER SPRING, Md. — HIAS is calling on the House of Representatives to reject H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023, which lawmakers are expected to debate and vote on this week.

“HIAS staunchly opposes H.R. 2, and we urge Representatives to vote NO on it,” said Naomi Steinberg, HIAS Vice President, U.S. Policy and Advocacy. “If this bill were to become law, it would essentially end the U.S. asylum system. Among other things, it would eliminate the right to seek asylum for people who enter the U.S. between ports of entry, even though that is a violation of accepted international asylum law.”

In addition, the legislation would restart the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” a policy that forced asylum seekers to wait in dangerous conditions in Mexico instead of being able to exert their legal right to seek protection in the United States. The list goes on, including but not limited to, resuming the detention of asylum-seeking families; stripping funding from the Alternative to Detention Case Management Program; and eliminating the humanitarian parole program.

Steinberg concluded, “This bill is little more than a wish list that includes everything but the kitchen sink for those who wish to make seeking asylum in this country impossible for most people. HIAS recognizes that there are real and significant challenges that plague U.S. asylum and border policies, but H.R. 2’s provisions are extreme to the point of absurdity. Instead of seeking common-sense measures that would help to make the asylum system more efficient while also respecting the fundamental right to seek asylum, this bill seeks to obliterate very basic tenets of U.S. asylum law and harm people seeking safety in the process.”


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