A Dignified Asylum System #ForOurFamilies
It is long past the time to end family separation at the border and fix our failed asylum system. The Trump Administration took a failed immigration system and made it worse. Now under the Biden Administration, we have the opportunity to undo the cruelty and bring dignity to families trying to seek asylum.
The Trump Administration’s primary goal was to treat families seeking humanitarian protections, like asylum, so terribly that not only would they choose to return to the very places where their lives were in danger, but future people seeking asylum would be deterred by this inhumane treatment from even trying.
Trump used the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to continue his attacks on our legal asylum system. The Trump administration used policies like Remain in Mexico, Zero Tolerance family separation, Title 42, third-country agreements, the transit ban and metering, and dozens of others to both restrict immigration at the border and eliminate the entire asylum system. Parents at the border were also forced into a false binary choice: separating from their children or waiving their childrens’ Flores Settlement rights and remaining incarcerated together.
President Biden’s executive orders were welcomed and transformative news, and included an end to MPP, also known as the “Remain in Mexico,” policy, which forced tens of thousands of migrants and children fleeing violence and persecution to remain trapped in Mexico in inhumane conditions in tents for months and years, all within a few feet of the border. Approximately 25,000 individuals in MPP continue to have active cases.
In addition to the important series of steps to undo current systems keeping families trapped at the border, the Biden Administration announced a taskforce to reunify families. Family separation at the border tore more than 5,000 children away from their parents, and it is time to correct a grave wrong done to their families. And, the Biden Administration announced new steps they would be taking to increase the ability for future migrants to apply for humanitarian protections closer to home, and to increase the capacity of countries across the western hemisphere to better protect and care for migrants.
Changes are needed immediately as families continue to wait in desperation and under difficult conditions at the border. This must include an immediate halt to the deportation and expulsion of Black immigrants seeking asylum trapped in a failed system. Continued, urgent action must also include the proposed efforts to expeditiously expand legal migration pathways through dedicated refugee admission goals, family reunification programs, the expansion of existing employment programs, and a complete transformation of the asylum system.
The Biden Administration must bring order, an end to family separation, and dignity at the border #ForOurFamilies.