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Immigration Law

Building Better, Not Backward: Learning from the Past to Design Sound Border Asylum Policy

Yael Schacher, Dec. 18, 2020

"During his first week in office, President-elect Biden should issue an executive order on border asylum policy that departs dramatically from that which President Trump put forth during his first week. President Biden’s executive order should give asylum seekers access to the border and provide for cooperation with border states and shelters to safely and humanely receive asylum seekers. It should allocate resources to alternatives to detention, including case management, and to improved adjudication of asylum claims in immigration courts, especially through provision of legal services. It should also commit to ending practices associated with expedited removal of asylum seekers that have resulted in abuses, and to the use of parole to unwind MPP. Finally, through revocation of Trump administration decisions, regulations, and policies, as well as through settlement of lawsuits and the withdrawal of appeals to federal courts regarding these policies, the executive order should commit to restoring asylum eligibility to those who have fled persecution but have been denied or prevented from obtaining protection.

In taking such action, President-elect Biden would be fulfilling not only his campaign promises but the commitment he made when he voted for Senate passage of the Refugee Act of 1980. That law, supported by large majorities of both parties, promised to ensure fair access to asylum at the border."