Go to Press Releases library
Press Releases

WRC Calls for Biden Admin to Align Actions With Words and Uphold Asylum Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marking the halfway point of President Joe Biden’s term, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) today released a set of four recommendations for the Biden administration to take immediately regarding asylum policies at the U.S. border with Mexico.

The document, “Halfway Into Term, Biden Administration Has Yet to Fulfill Its Promises to Asylum Seekers,” demonstrates what promises remain unfulfilled, and lays out recommendations in four areas – access to asylum, family reunification, case management, and unaccompanied children. The recommendations also come as the president prepares to deliver the State of the Union Address on February 7.

“It is alarming to witness the normalization of anti-asylum policies under this administration,” said Kimiko Hirota, policy advisor for the Migrant Rights and Justice program at WRC. “Despite claiming not to like Title 42, President Biden expanded use of Title 42 to expel Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans at the U.S.-Mexico border back to Mexico without the opportunity to apply for asylum. And now he plans to resurrect Trump-era transit asylum bans that would prevent many people from being able to seek protection in the U.S. Such changes would further dismantle the U.S. asylum system and disregard U.S. and international refugee law.”

In its recommendations, WRC called on the Biden administration to – among other things – allow people to exercise their right to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border regardless of their nationality or other demographics and ensure that other legal migration pathways act as a supplement to, not replacement of, the U.S. asylum system.

WRC also recommended that the Biden administration provide ongoing services to reunited families, offer a formal apology on behalf of the United States, and provide financial restitution to families affected by forced separation at the border.

WRC called on the administration to expand and scale up the Case Management Pilot Program and evidence-based case management programming operated by community-based providers and move away from detention and surveillance-based monitoring.

WRC also called on the Biden administration to take steps to ensure the rights and protections of the more than 125,000 unaccompanied children who entered U.S. government custody in fiscal year 2022.
Specifically, they urged the administration to include robust post-release services and to fulfill Congress’s directive to hire child welfare professionals and fully and consistently implement the ICE Detained Parents Directive.

“It is imperative that families and people fleeing political persecution, torture, gang violence, and other harrowing harms can request asylum at a moment’s notice. That is what the asylum system was built for,” said Hirota. “We urge the Biden administration to uphold refugee law and protect the most vulnerable looking to the U.S. for safety.”