WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us President Todd Schulte issued the following statement on the Biden Administration’s continued expansion of the Central American Minors (CAM) program:
“The continued expansion of the CAM program to create more legal pathways and allow children, parents and legal guardians to apply starting September 14, 2021, from closer to their homes is a smart step to ensure the safety of people seeking relief and strengthen our asylum system. The expansion announced today would also help keep families safe and together. CAM is an important program, but only one of the legal immigration avenues that the Biden administration must expand to create a humane and orderly system regarding forced migration in the Western Hemisphere. We urge the administration to move quickly to expand other legal immigration pathways, including a refugee system, and family and employment-based immigration programs.
“At the same time, we call on the Biden Administration to take immediate steps to improve our asylum system and strengthen border security, starting with ending Title 42, and keep its commitment to undo the cruel Trump Administration policies by reissuing a new memo to end the illegal Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Both of these policies have caused immeasurable harm to people seeking protection in the United States. They are ineffective deterrence policies that keep families and children separated from loved ones, and in desperate need of humanitarian relief and at risk of irreparable and fatal human consequences. It is imperative that we process people at our borders, do not interfere with their journeys to the border as highlighted in this report, or deny them their right to seek asylum at our border.”
Last month, FWD.us issued a new report released with the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) titled Pushing Back Protection: How Offshoring and Externalization Imperil the Right to Asylum, which outlined how affluent nations like the United States, European Union Member States, and Australia prevent asylum seekers and migrants from reaching their shores. The report found that by offshoring asylum obligations and externalizing enforcement actions, these nations have denied thousands of asylum seekers their legal rights. The harsh practices certain nations have used to keep vulnerable people away from their borders have resulted in unimaginable harm, including sexual violence, torture, and death. Offshoring and externalization tactics, such as the MPP policies instituted by the Trump Administration, have also driven asylum seekers to take more dangerous routes – often to another nation’s border where they face similarly cruel and ineffective measures.
Earlier this year, FWD.us also issued a new video outlining the steps the Biden Administration should take to build a working, humane approach to regional migration, to protect asylum, and to keep families together. This video highlights:
- How the broken immigration system was gutted, essentially eliminating the asylum system, employment-based immigration system, including temporary work visas, and the family-based immigration system, leaving families with little to no opportunity to apply to come to the U.S. from closer to home.
- The need to strengthen the asylum process to ensure we can protect people in desperate need. The current journey migrants experience to arrive at our southern border cannot be the only option for people looking to apply to come to the U.S. from across the Western Hemisphere, and those who are transiting through.
- The need to create more opportunities for people to apply to come to the US through other avenues and from closer to their homes instead of forcing them into dangerous travel routes to the border, or weaponizing cruelty to deter these vulnerable populations from ever reaching our borders when seeking humanitarian protection, economic opportunity, or trying to unify with their families.
Ensuring that we create more legal avenues for people to immigrate to the U.S. will provide a vital source of future immigrants, keep our families and communities together, and grow our economy even stronger. America must work to welcome families and children seeking asylum with dignity, while expanding legal avenues to our immigration system.
We must only look to recent history to see that a strategy built solely on deterrence is both wrong and does not actually reduce forced migration. We must work to improve conditions on the ground that reduce the need for forced migration while creating working, humane legal immigration avenues that alongside a humane asylum system can be an effective, orderly and humane approach to regional migration. The administration put forth a series of positive plans, and they must follow through on them, including ending the use of Title 42 at the border.
The strategy outlined in this video won’t fix everything—not close—but we hope they can provide the outline to a better path forward after years of failed policies of deterrence.