Biden Administration’s Latest Move Does Real Harm to Asylum-Seeking Families

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) denounced the Biden administration for plans announced to apply expedited removal (ER) to families apprehended in the southern border region. In expedited removal, CBP and ICE officers serve as both prosecutor and judge, and single-handedly deport people, often in error and with little oversight. AILA is adamantly opposed and urges the administration to rethink the recently announced use of ER on families.

AILA President Allen Orr said, “AILA has called repeatedly for a halt to expedited removal for all populations as a terrible practice that undermines due process and fairness. This new announcement is extremely disappointing since President Biden has pledged to treat all migrants humanely and to ensure fair procedures. Expedited removal directly contravenes the administration’s commitment to undoing the damage done to families, especially after the President criticized his predecessor for ripping thousands of families apart. AILA appreciates the administration’s other efforts to improve humanitarian protection, such as the Central American Minors program, but this move is a far cry from the humane and fair policy he pledged.”

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson added, “This announcement is a major step backwards in the administration’s pledge to create fair and humane processes at the border and to protect families seeking asylum. Consistent with the UN Refugee Convention—which celebrates a 70th anniversary tomorrow—American laws guarantee a meaningful chance to seek protection even if someone enters through irregular methods, such as between ports of entry. It is hypocritical, dangerous, and contrary to our laws for the administration to close off all avenues for these families to seek asylum; first they have been blocked by Title 42 and now will be subjected to expedited removal when they pursue the only avenue available to seek protection from persecution. Instead of resorting to expedited removal and its myriad flaws, the administration should implement workable and proven solutions like community-based case management programs which support immigrants as they navigate their court proceedings outside of ICE or CBP detention. AILA urges the administration to reverse this policy before the damage done is impossible to make right.”

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 21072791.