In anticipation of the termination of Title 42 on May 11, today the Biden Administration announced a series of actions that impact how migrants and asylum seekers can seek protection in the United States and how the U.S. processes those seeking safety once they have crossed into the U.S. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) welcomes some of the actions in this announcement but urges caution where the inherent rights of asylum seekers may be limited or jeopardized.
The actions announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) include finalizing a regulation that presumes those who cross into the U.S. at the southwest border without authorization or having used a lawful pathway are ineligible for asylum. This includes individuals who arrive at a port of entry without an appointment but allows some exceptions.
Additionally, the Administration announced plans to place families in removal proceedings with a focus on utilizing Alternatives to Detention and creating new family reunification parole processes for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Colombia. Partnerships with other countries in the region include opening Regional Processing Centers in several countries beginning with Colombia and Guatemala.
“While targeting smugglers is critical, the U.S. must understand that those who fear for their lives due to conflict or persecution in their home countries do not have the luxury of making an appointment and waiting for an interview,” said Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy at JRS/USA. “We also urge caution as the U.S. moves forward with expedited reviews of asylum claims, calling on the Administration to ensure that asylum seekers have access to effective counsel and adequate resources to make their claim.”
Border communities will benefit from an additional $290 million in the coming weeks along with $15 million in additional funding for DHS’s Case Management Program, a critical tool in meeting the needs of those navigating the U.S. immigration and asylum system. The Administration also laid out its plan to welcome thousands of additional refugees per month from the Western Hemisphere via the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
“JRS/USA applauds the Administration for increasing the number of refugees from the region admitted through the Refugee Admissions Program,” said McPherson. “We call on Congress to ensure that the necessary resources are allocated to this effort so that refugees from other parts of the world are not forgotten, and that funds from other life-saving refugee assistance programs do not suffer as a result.”