Amid Border Changes, the Right To Seek Asylum Must Be Upheld

SILVER SPRING, Maryland – On Jan. 5, 2023, President Joe Biden announced updated border policies that would create new humanitarian parole programs for Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti; expand the use of the Title 42 expulsions to Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians; expand the use of expedited removal; and put in place an effective asylum transit ban.

“While humanitarian parole programs are certainly helpful and needed, they do not replace the system of asylum which continues to be eroded by expanded use of Title 42,” said Anna Gallagher, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., or CLINIC. “CLINIC has been firm: Any expansion of Title 42 is misguided and dangerous. Continued use of a harmful, outdated health policy to usurp our legal obligations under international and asylum law is wrong.”

“Many people fleeing for their lives will not be able to access help under the requirements for the new parole programs and transit rules,” said Karen Sullivan, director of advocacy at CLINIC. “Parole is also only a temporary status, not a long-term solution. Access to typical channels of asylum must be available for those who are most desperate. Seeking asylum is a legal right. We urge the Biden administration to maintain access to asylum while it seeks to create these other pathways of protection for those seeking safety in the U.S.”

CLINIC is also disappointed by the reinstatement of a version of the asylum "transit ban" which was created by the previous administration and was blocked by the courts. This policy decision is a step backward in the efforts to respect the rights and dignity of migrants and will result in preventing vulnerable populations from accessing protection.

“CLINIC supports efforts to create comprehensive and lasting solutions to the challenges at the border,” continued Gallagher. “But any changes must uphold the fundamental right to seek asylum – a cornerstone of international law and just migration policy.”