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BREAKING: Asylum Experts Denounce Key Aspects of Biden Administration’s Latest Asylum Announcement

WASHINGTON – Today, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Department of State Secretary Antony Blinken announced new regional asylum processing centers in South and Central America, and possibly other changes to U.S. immigration policy. The announcement is part of the administration’s asylum management plan to replace Title 42 restrictions after they end on May 11.

“While Women’s Refugee Commission remains concerned about the Biden administration’s continued steps to drastically limit access to asylum at the US-Mexico border, we recognize that today the administration took some important steps that, if meaningfully and robustly implemented, could increase the availability of protection to those coming from Latin America and the Caribbean, said Savitri Arvey, senior policy advisor at Women’s Refugee Commission. We welcome the Biden administration’s expansion of migration pathways—including more US refugee processing in the region and the expansion of the family reunification parole program for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia. More information is clearly needed on the newly announced Regional Processing Centers in Guatemala and Colombia, but we hope these efforts will make protections in the US and other countries more accessible to individuals in the region. As always, the creation of new processing centers and expansion of legal pathways must not come at the expense of access to asylum at the US-Mexico border.”

Added Bilal Askaryar, interim campaign manager, #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign for asylum rights: “While we welcome reports of increased pathways and access to protection for people from Central and South America, we also call on the administration to uphold our commitments to ensure full access to asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Today’s announcement includes important steps forward to create additional pathways for people seeking protection in the United States. But such measures cannot come at the expense of access to asylum, no matter one’s origin, or whether one arrives by plane, or is forced to walk to the U.S. border. Under this plan, those seeking asylum will largely be met with rapid-fire processing, no meaningful access to lawyers or support to help them navigate their cases, and severe consequences for simply trying to apply for asylum. The administration must rescind its recently proposed rule that would severely curtail asylum–a proposed rule that #WelcomeWithDignity and thousands of partners commented on in opposition–and finally turn to measures that will welcome with dignity.”


Read the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign’s full statement.

Learn more about WRC’s work on asylum, legal, and human rights.