On Tuesday, February 21, 2023, the Biden Administration proposed a new rule that would reduce the number of refugees that are able to seek asylum in the United States. Under this rule, most asylum seekers who cross into the United States between ports of entry or who present themselves at a port of entry without a previously scheduled appointment will be considered ineligible for asylum, unless they previously sought and were denied protection in a country they traveled through.
It is expected that this new rule will be challenged in court. If implemented, the new proposal would prevent migrants from seeking asylum and would instead quickly deport them, without giving them a chance to participate in asylum hearings. It would disproportionately affect marginalized groups, as white and wealthy immigrants can afford visas and air travel and will be able to bypass the restrictions. It also limits asylum claims to those who have access to technology and can navigate the “CBPOne” app, which only offers limited appointments and is known for technical glitches.
Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), top Democrats on the Judiciary committee, said in a joint statement they were “disappointed” with the proposal.
“The ability to seek asylum is a bedrock principle protected by federal law and should never be violated. We should not be restricting legal pathways to enter the United States, we should be expanding them. Last month, we saw the positive impact new legal pathways can have on irregular migration. We hope the Biden administration will reconsider much of this proposed rule,” the two said in a joint statement.
This proposed rule, if enacted, would place children and families in harm’s way, forcing refugees to wait outside the United States for their appointments or quickly deporting those that do not have access to the means to make appointments. Children will be sent back to situations that are dangerous and pose serious threat to their well-being. Some parents will continue to make the impossible choice to send their children alone as unaccompanied minors or choose more dangerous ways of crossing the border.
The new rule has been posted for comment in the Federal Register; comments are due by March 27, 2023. Advocate groups are encouraging as many national, state, and local organizations as possible to submit comments regarding the potential consequences of this policy.