AILA Public Statements

Biden Administration’s Asylum Transit Ban Will Undermine U.S. Humanitarian Law and Harm Vulnerable Asylum Seekers

5/10/23 AILA Doc. No. 23051006. Admissions & Border, Asylum

Washington, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) renews its opposition to the Biden Administration’s harmful “Circumventing Lawful Pathways” regulation which functionally bans access to asylum for many vulnerable people.

AILA President Jeremy McKinney stated: “Given the complex and unprecedented challenges at the southern border, the Biden Administration finds itself walking a tightrope between effective border management and meaningful humanitarian protection. While many of the Administration’s actions, such as opening legal channels to seek safety and reunite with loved ones, strike that balance, this asylum rule is wildly out of bounds. The new regulation will likely deny tens of thousands of people any opportunity to meaningfully seek protection. Our immigration laws—and our values—guarantee the right to seek asylum regardless of how someone enters the country. This departure from our laws and values is unacceptable under any circumstances.”

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson added, “Let’s be clear, Congress bears responsibility for withholding the necessary resources to fund effective border management. Current funding levels fall far short of what is needed to properly screen and timely process asylum seekers. Instead of working on actual solutions, Congress can’t get past political bickering and anti-immigrant scapegoating. Lasting reforms can only happen if Congress does its job and passes legislation with smart, workable solutions that not only meet the immediate needs at the southern border but that also harness the long term benefits that legal immigration channels can bring.”

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.