AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

Congress Must Not Weaken Asylum System as Part of Budget Negotiations

11/29/23 AILA Doc. No. 23112901. Asylum

Washington, DC – A bipartisan group of Senators is reportedly entertaining severe restrictions on America’s asylum system in exchange for a supplemental funding deal; leadership from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) responded:

AILA President Farshad Owji stated, “It is absolutely vital that Congress fund the federal government to effectively manage the border and the country’s immigration system. Congress should reject proposals that close off the nation to people in urgent need of humanitarian protection. The reported provisions being negotiated would not only weaken the U.S. asylum system but also create chaos at the border by taking away the long-standing Congressionally created ‘parole’ authority. That critical tool, used for decades by presidents of both political parties, brings order and predictability to migration flows. Parole is exactly what Congress should be shoring up, not blowing up. AILA urges negotiators to reject these changes as harmful and ineffective.”

Ben Johnson, AILA Executive Director, added, “Compromise is part of the legislative process, but the end results matter. Legislation to address the challenges at the border must include the resources and tools necessary to meet the moment, and, most importantly, it cannot and must not compromise the fundamental integrity of the system. The legislation being contemplated fails this basic test. The negotiations are taking place behind closed doors with little input from experts or representatives of immigrant communities, and no clear-eyed lawmaker can pretend that these measures meaningfully address the migration challenges at the border. In short order these same lawmakers will be forced back to another negotiation, and because of their short-sightedness today, there will be greater chaos tomorrow. Real reform is within reach if Congress would provide funding to ensure orderly border processing, reduce systemic backlogs at the courts and with visa processing, and support local communities assisting migrants. Congress can and must do what only it can do: give America a set of immigration laws that meet the nation’s needs.”

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