White House Must Reject Funding Compromises That Endanger Asylum Seekers

SILVER SPRING, Md. — HIAS is deeply alarmed by reports that the Biden administration is considering new restrictions on asylum and expanded deportation processes in an effort to reach an agreement to keep funding for Israel and Ukraine in a supplemental funding bill.

“We urge the White House to reject proposals that target people seeking safety in this country — policies that are not only extremely dangerous and morally abhorrent, but which have proven to be ineffective, and would be bad for America,” said HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield. “These policies would hurt asylum seekers, harm our economy, and set a terrible example for the rest of the world at a time of global refugee crisis. Congress and the administration should consider humanitarian assistance and aid to Israel and Ukraine on their own strong merits, not use them to ram through the evisceration of U.S. asylum and immigration law.”

The changes reportedly under discussion include placing a cap on asylum seekers; instituting a third-country transit ban for those seeking protection at the border; and making it much more difficult for applicants to apply for asylum based on how they entered the country, rather than on whether they are deserving of protection under the law.

HIAS reiterated that lawmakers and the administration must instead support comprehensive immigration reform, including robust funding to process asylum seekers and reduce the backlog of work authorization applications, so more newcomers can support themselves and contribute to the U.S. economy.

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