LAWG Condemns Biden Administration’s Rule Limiting Asylum

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For Immediate Release: February 22, 2023

Contact: Ana Pereyra Baron | Program Assistant

LAWG Condemns Biden Administration’s Rule Limiting Asylum

February 22, 2023.  Yesterday the White House issued a new rule that bars most migrants who transit through other countries to reach the U.S.-Mexico border from being able to apply for asylum, echoing some of the worst anti-asylum policies implemented by the Trump administration.  Migrants who do not use existing legal pathways to seek protection would be ineligible to seek asylum in most cases.  

Most migrants travel through at least one country, if not more, on their way to the United States. This rule requires them to apply for asylum in the countries they pass through, generally denying them access to asylum in the United States if they do not. The proposed travel ban violates domestic laws and international treaties and contradicts President Biden’s campaign promise to reassert the United States’ commitment to fully restore access to asylum, including at the U.S. border.

“The White House’s new rule denying asylum to people fleeing for their lives, based on what countries they are traveling through and how they enter the United States, will diminish access to asylum as we know it,” said Lisa Haugaard, Executive Director of the Latin America Working Group.  “For people fleeing many of the Western Hemisphere countries currently in crisis, for example, it means they are forced to apply for asylum in countries where their lives may still be very much in danger, and which offer slow-moving access to asylum for only a fraction of those who desperately need it.  The upshot is, many of those who are fleeing for their lives will be left in bureaucratic limbo—and deadly danger.”

The Latin America Working Group calls on the Biden Administration to rescind the proposed transit ban, restore full rights to asylum, and prioritize addressing the root causes of forced migration from sending countries such as corruption and impunity, increasingly autocratic governments, failure to address and mitigate climate change, and exclusive economic policies.