HIAS Statement to U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee

HIAS submitted the following statement to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration, for today's hearing “At the Breaking Point: The Humanitarian and Security Crisis at our Southern Border.”

HIAS, the American Jewish community’s global refugee organization, has been assisting refugees and immigrants around the world and at our country’s borders for nearly 140 years. Today, guided by our Jewish value of welcoming the stranger, HIAS provides comprehensive legal services to those seeking safety in the United States. including immigration attorneys working in non-profit organizations in San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas to help assist asylum seekers arriving at the border.

The Administration has recently put into place new policies that keep many asylum seekers in detention without access to bond while they wait for the adjudication of their cases, charge asylum seekers a fee to submit asylum applications, and restrict access to work authorization.

Over the past two years, the Administration has also proposed policies that turn asylum seekers away at the U.S.-Mexico border; forcibly separate children from their parents; require asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims are adjudicated in the U.S.; severely limit access to due process for asylum seekers in immigration courts through a quota system for immigration judges; limit access to parole; expand the use of detention for adults; and, undermine the Flores Settlement Agreement in order to indefinitely detain families.

HIAS urges members of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration, to demand that the Administration put an immediate end to programs and policies that place virtual and physical barriers in the way of asylum seekers who arrive at our borders seeking safety. Individuals arriving at the U.S. border have the fundamental right to seek asylum. The policies, proposals, and rule changes mentioned above undermine both U.S. and international laws that protect that right, and have put asylum seekers at great risk. The solution to what the Administration has called a crisis at the border is investment in our asylum system to ensure that it is fair and humane, not a continuous effort to punish the men, women, and children who come to the United States seeking safety.

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