New Vision for Immigration Policy Needed as Biden Administration Takes the Helm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Minneapolis, MN (January 20, 2021)
The Advocates for Human Rights welcomes the Biden-Harris Administration's announcement of its proposed U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 alongside critical immigration-related executive orders. The administration's "day one" action stands in marked contrast to the xenophobic policies of the previous administration.
The Advocates supports urgently needed immigration reforms while urging lawmakers to set new immigration priorities that ensure human rights and make sense in the context of 21st century global migration. "When people move with dignity, the world is a more just, safe, and peaceful place," says Robin Phillips, executive director of The Advocates for Human Rights. "The reality is that people move, and we all benefit from an orderly process and predictable rules to manage this essential human endeavor. It's time for people-centered policies that focus on the dignity of people in communities of origin, in transit, and in receiving communities."
Key administration proposals include new and expanded immigration pathways, including for people currently in the United States and for those seeking to enter the country through existing family, employment, and diversity visa pathways. The proposal also would eliminate the "three- and ten-year bars" which have barred immigration for thousands of otherwise-eligible people, separated families, and entrenched people in undocumented status.
The Act would also increase protections for those fleeing harms. The proposal would restore crucial human rights safeguards, modernize case processing, and target push factors that force people to flee. Proposed elimination of the "one-year filing deadline," which has left many who fled persecution without asylum protection, represents an important step toward compliance with international refugee standards.
Importantly, the administration's proposal includes much-needed due process reforms, including restoration of immigration judge authority; ensuring counsel for children, vulnerable individuals, and others when necessary; and expanding access to legal information for people in detention. As detailed in our recent report, access to counsel is essential to a fair day in court for those facing deportation.
As a first step, The Advocates welcomes the administration's commitment to a just system that protects dignity in migration. We look forward to working with the administration and congress to bring the U.S. immigration system in line with standards outlined in the Global Compact for Migration, the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families, the Refugee Convention, and international human rights principles. Together we can build an ambitious, dynamic, just, and humane system that, as the Statue of Liberty promises, "glows world-wide welcome."