JRS/USA and JRS LAC Applaud Administration for Further Action on US Refugee and Asylum Systems

02 February 2021

migrant caravan

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and Jesuit Refugee Service Latin America and the Caribbean applaud President Biden for signing a series of Executive Orders that begin the process of restoring and rebuilding the US refugee and asylum systems, especially for those displaced within our own hemisphere. These steps follow other refugee and immigration-related actions taken by President Biden on his first day in office.

“The amount of damage done to the US refugee and asylum systems over the past several years has been significant. We welcome the Biden Administration’s continued focus on these important issues and encourage them to take swift action to address policies that have caused undue harm to those seeking safety and protection,” said Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy & Operations, JRS/USA.

The actions taken by President Biden today include:

  • Ordering a review of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and consideration of a phased strategy for the entry of those still waiting in Mexico, following a halt in new enrollments previously announced by the Administration.
  • Establishing a task force to reunify families separated at the US-Mexico border and revoking the Trump Administration’s Executive Order that justified separating children from their parents.
  • Ordering a review of Title 42, a policy resulting in the closure of US borders to asylum seekers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Developing a strategy that addresses the underlying causes of migration across the Western Hemisphere including instability, violence, and economic insecurity.
  • Collaborating with regional partners to strengthen capacity to provide protection and opportunities to asylum seekers and migrants closer to home.
  • Ensuring that Central American refugees and asylum seekers have access to legal avenues to the US including reviving the Central American Minors program1.

While important, these actions only begin to fully address the current challenges in access to asylum and protection, including the safety and welfare of those already enrolled in MPP and currently stranded in Mexico. The US must once again offer protection to those fleeing unimaginable violence, persecution, and conflict as they look to rebuild their lives and create a future for themselves and their families.

“The US can lead a comprehensive migration policy and protect the human rights of forcibly displaced persons and refugees in the Americas region. The entire continent is facing profound challenges of forced migration, which require democratic changes in countries of origin and greater support for cooperation in countries of transit and destination,” said Monica Gomez, Advocacy Officer, JRS LAC.

We call on the Biden Administration, and governments throughout the region, to work with affected populations and civil society to develop solutions to these critical challenges. Only together will we be able to devise a long-term, sustainable, plan for real change.