In response to the Biden administration’s announcement of new regional migration measures upon the end of Title 42 on May 11, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:
“Once again the United States is embracing a misguided carrot and stick approach to respond to the global refugee crisis: on the one hand, positively expanding family reunification and humanitarian pathways to the United States, and on the other, externalizing its protection obligations and harshly penalizing those who exercise their human right to seek asylum at the US southern border. We remind the Biden administration and governments across the Americas that seeking asylum is a human right. While we applaud the expanded pathways for people seeking safety without having to make the dangerous trek to the border, this must not come at the expense of the United States forgoing its international obligation to uphold the right to seek asylum.”
“With the Americas facing an unprecedented number of refugees, the United States’ commitment to double the number of refugees it takes in from the region and expand existing pathways for family reunification and parole are important steps to provide much needed protections for people in need of safety. We also welcome the commitments by Canada and Spain to increase pathways from the region. However, it’s unacceptable for these expanded pathways to be coupled with harsh enforcement measures that will undoubtedly lead to individuals being denied protection and thrust into greater danger, with a particularly harmful impact on Black, Brown, and Indigenous people.”
“The Biden administration’s requirement that people make appointments via the CBP One application is akin to a new form of metering, a practice that resulted in people being forced to wait in Mexico where they are at risk of serious violence. The US government’s plan to further expedite the expedited removal process will also result in sham protection screenings that will likely result in many people being turned back into harm’s way, in violation of international law. The Biden administration must instead invest in solutions that allow people to pursue their asylum claims in safe communities where they have real access to legal counsel and are not forced to fight their asylum cases from cruel border facilities or detention centers.”
Previously Amnesty International has documented how the Biden administration has failed to consider the heightened risk Black asylum seekers face as they are often disparately impacted by cruel enforcement policies and are at heightened risk of violence in Mexico. The Biden Administration should consider recommendations proposed by Amnesty International in the report “They did not treat us like people”: Race and migration-related torture and other ill-treatment of Haitians seeking safety in the USA, such as fully restoring access to asylum at the border, ending the reliance on mass immigration detention, establishing a right to counsel in all immigration proceedings, and decriminalizing irregular entry and re-entry into the United States. Such reforms are necessary to ensure justice and equity for Haitian and other Black asylum seekers.
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