WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us Vice President for Advocacy Alida Garcia issued the following statement on the latest Biden-Harris Administration’s Executive Actions on border, asylum, refugee processes, legal immigration and establishing a task force to reunify families:
“We are thankful that President Biden and Vice President Harris continue to take steps to reverse the previous administration’s devastating policies at the southern border that led to the separation of thousands of families and blocked tens of thousands of people fleeing violence and persecution from making legitimate asylum claims. Further, we are encouraged by the details provided for the Administration’s plans to build a new system of migration across the Western Hemisphere, including the expansion of new avenues for people to apply for humanitarian relief closer to home. These measures must be swiftly, fully, and properly enacted, and coupled with a fair and humane asylum processing system at our border to meet the Administration’s commitment to keep our families and communities safe and our border managed in an orderly way.
“The Biden Administration also announced it will be taking a thorough look at the various rules and policies implemented under the former Administration. This includes the drastic Public Charge rule, a backdoor attempt to slash legal immigration, and we expect them to move immediately while following appropriate procedures to end this harmful policy. We will continue to advocate for the end of the immigrant and non-immigrant visa bans, which the Trump administration falsely claimed were necessary under the pretext of a pandemic. These policies have ground the legal immigration system to a halt; processing times have increased, backlogs have grown, and people have lost critical benefits, even falling out of status because of delays. This has hindered economic growth and undermined our global competitiveness. Rolling back these restrictive policies is critical to ensuring immigration remains one of our greatest competitive advantages and will require further action from the Administration.
“While these announcements are welcome and transformative news, the humanitarian crisis has not changed at the border, there is a tremendous amount of urgent work to fix a long failed immigration system. Fixing the Trump-manufactured humanitarian crisis begins with urgently providing clarity to the children and adults in Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)–a cruel Trump-era program that forced over 65,000 migrants and children fleeing violence and persecution to wait in Mexico for a chance to obtain protection and seek asylum in the United States. Each day that passes is a day that the United States is keeping them at risk. We need a fair, orderly, humane and transparent process for vulnerable people seeking asylum. Families in desperation at the border are in need of immediate and aggressive action on behalf of the Administration, including the proposed efforts to expeditiously expand legal migration pathways through dedicated refugee admission goals, family reunification programs and the expansion existing employment programs.
“Ending our nation’s cruel immigration practices, including many of the policies upon which family separation and family detention have been predicated, will not only keep families together, but it will also allow immigrants to contribute more fully to their communities as our country continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts cannot happen in a vacuum, or merely at the executive level. They must be coupled with substantial action from Congress to reform the immigration system, centered on providing a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented community, including the millions of frontline, essential workers who have helped our communities survive the ongoing pandemic. It is long past time to create the modern, compassionate and humane immigration system that our nation needs to rebuild from this public health and economic crisis.”