Washington D.C. - As federal funding debates continue, a small group of senators are demanding changes to asylum and immigration policy in exchange for funding to aid Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. These changes are being disguised as “border security measures,” however, they would eliminate essential protections for people seeking asylum—protections that have been in place for decades– and cause harmful confusion and disruption at the U.S.- Mexico Border.
The proposed changes would implement a so-called “safe third country rule” that would bar asylum applications from individuals who traveled through more than one country before reaching the U.S.. These proposed changes would also change the standard used for initial screening of asylum seekers, imposing a much higher standard that would wrongly exclude many people who are fleeing violence or persecution. And they would also severely undermine humanitarian and other forms of parole. These are huge changes that would cause enormous harm to the most vulnerable populations fleeing persecution, such as the LBGTQIA+ community.
Many LGBTQIA+ migrants who reach the U.S. border are escaping from harms that include family violence, sexual violence, stalking, and violence from gangs or drug cartels. As of today, many waiting to enter the United States continue to face violence and severe harassment in so-called “transit countries.” These proposed changes would put these already vulnerable individuals at even greater risk and create chaos at the border. Our current asylum system seeks to aid people fleeing from danger instead of punishing them. These proposed changes would completely defeat that goal and punish those who need and deserve protection.
We call on the Senate to reject these extreme anti-immigration measures and support humane solutions that ensure asylum and protection for all who cannot safely return to their country.
We thank the coalition of senators led by U.S. Senator Alex Padilla and Majority Whip Dick Durbin for opposing these extreme and dangerous changes to our current asylum system. Asylum is a fundamental human right, and we must ensure that these protections remain in place.
Please urge Senators to reject these dangerous and harmful proposals that will make it impossible for people to seek safety in the U.S. and force them to be deported back to danger. Tell your senators to reject efforts to end asylum in funding negotiations through Tahirih Justice Center’s call to action, here.