AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA Executive Director Responds to Release of Bipartisan Senate Bill

AILA Doc. No. 24020432. Admissions & Border, Asylum, Removal & Relief
CONTACTS:
George Tzamaras
202-507-7649
gtzamaras@aila.org
Belle Woods
202-507-7675
bwoods@aila.org

 

Washington, DC – A bipartisan group of Senators released the “Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024” to provide emergency supplemental funding for Ukraine and Israel among other areas, including the border.

Ben Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), stated, “The situation at the border is untenable. However, beyond the border itself, America needs and deserves a better immigration system overall, one that combines security and efficiency with fairness and due process. While the bill falls short in some areas the Senate proposal reflects an understanding of the necessity of balancing these interests.  This effort is not a comprehensive solution, but it represents a serious approach that recognizes the need for broader reform. 

It is clear that the flow of migrants at the southern border needs to be controlled, but the bill’s blanket expulsion protocols are a blunt instrument that puts vulnerable migrants at risk and denies some legitimate asylum seekers life-saving protections. Efforts to control the flow of migrants must include a protective process that requires coordination with Mexico to ensure that anyone having to wait at the border for processing will be safe from smugglers and cartels, and that they have a meaningful chance to claim asylum as our laws require. Without such coordination, the new expulsion authority will result in chaos at the border with migrants stuck in unsafe conditions in Mexico and vulnerable to violence.

While it is disheartening that there are no provisions for Dreamers and long-time undocumented residents that enjoy overwhelming bipartisan support among American voters, there are a number of provisions that are positive. Among them: an infusion of family and employment visas over five years, guaranteed legal representation for unaccompanied children 13 and under, recognition of the president’s humanitarian parole authority, consideration of and reporting on alternatives to detention, protection against “aging out” for the children of high-skilled (H-1B) temporary visa holders, and a path to citizenship for Afghan refugees that keeps our promises to our allies.

In the current environment, a bipartisan, compromise immigration bill is the only path to reforming our immigration system and providing it with the tools and resources needed to meet the challenges at the southern border.  This Senate bill is far from perfect, but we commend those involved for doing the hard work of building consensus around this critical issue. This bill should be the beginning, not the end of that effort."

Listen to a Press Briefing

AILA Executive Director Ben Johnson, American Immigration Council Executive Director Jeremy Robbins, Andrea R. Flores, VP for Immigration Policy and Campaigns at FWD.us, and AILA Senior Director for Government Relations Greg Chen spoke to the press about the Senate bill on a briefing call on February 5, 2024.

 

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