The Advocates Calls for "No" Vote on Anti-Immigrant Policies
The Advocates for Human Rights Decries Political Trade-off of Human Lives, Calls for "No" Votes on Anti-Immigrant Policies
Minneapolis, MN (February 4, 2024) --
After months of backdoor negotiations, the U.S. Senate has issued proposed bill text that attempts to push through extreme immigration policies by tying it to foreign aid supplemental funding. As the rhetoric around immigration has risen to the fore in this year's election politics, The Advocates reminds those in Washington that migrants are not political pawns.
"This bill reflects a decision to engage in harmful, illegal, and short-sighted political gambling with human lives rather than an earnest attempt to rebuild U.S. immigration policy. People move, especially when faced with danger. And, if the U.S. prioritized safe, orderly, and fair pathways to migration rather than political gamesmanship, we would be a stronger nation," said Robin Phillips, Executive Director. "Let's be clear: the provisions as proposed will put the U.S. in violation of international law. Punishing people for seeking safety is precisely what gave rise to the Refugee Convention and these political maneuvers risk repeating those costly mistakes."
As proposed, the bill text would increase the initial standard vulnerable people seeking safety must prove, which will result in unlawful removal of people to face torture and persecution. And, while the bill creates important access to counsel provisions, it does so while simultaneously gutting due process in the asylum appeals process. The bill also proposes to allow, and in some cases require, the President to limit asylum screening and admissions into the U.S. based solely on arbitrary daily entry numbers. While The Advocates has called for new immigration pathways for Afghans over nearly three years, the inclusion of those provisions and additional visas for some cannot be used by senators to justify gutting crucial asylum lifelines for all who seek safety on our shores.
Despite months of backdoor negotiations, most lawmakers and advocates are only receiving a few days to review this legislation before the Senate rushes to vote. "This is not enough time to make thoughtful decisions about provisions that will alter our entire humanitarian immigration system and risk the lives of millions. Congress has failed for decades to act on immigration reform; there's no reason it must do so in a matter of days now," continued Phillips.
We call on our senators to vote down this harmful legislation and instead to invest in ensuring immigration policies that respect human rights. Anything less betrays our values of welcome as Minnesotans and violates international law.