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Asian Americans Advancing Justice: Senate Bill to Destroy Asylum in Exchange for Foreign Aid Funding is Outrageous, Immoral, and Ineffective

February 5, 2024 News

Media Contact: media@advancingjustice-alc.org

Asian Americans Advancing Justice: Senate Bill to Destroy Asylum in Exchange for Foreign Aid Funding is Outrageous, Immoral, and Ineffective

Defending the human right to seek safety is not just the right thing to do, it is the only effective solution for border communities and U.S. commitments to people seeking asylum and refuge

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Asian Americans Advancing Justice denounces the Senate bill that includes harmful changes to the U.S. immigration system. The so-called “deal” would deny immigrants and people seeking asylum the basic right to live free from danger. It also includes billions of dollars of additional funding for ICE, which would be used to detain tens of thousands of our community members, parents, siblings, and neighbors. While the bill additionally includes a few improvements to the immigration system, including some policy changes that we have previously advocated for, pairing it with these disastrous provisions will do much more harm than any good. The President has signaled that he will sign this bill if it is passed and will use it to “shut down the border,” an abdication of his responsibilities to those he governs and to human dignity.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice issues the following statement:

“The recently announced ‘deal’ pairs old and failed policies taken straight out of the Trump and Stephen Miller playbook with some limited improvements to our outdated immigration system. It is both immoral and ineffective to add billions of dollars of funding for ICE, restrict who can seek asylum and refuge, and create a new power to rapidly expel people apprehended at the border.

“At a time when people are seeking to live free from danger at our southern border, this bill would trade on the lives of vulnerable immigrants under the pretext of addressing safety abroad. The contradictions couldn’t be clearer. No matter how the President and lawmakers try to turn issues of human rights into political maneuvering, this bill will separate families and deny essential rights to people fleeing persecution, violence, and torture, including many South, East, and Southeast Asian migrants.

“For decades, some politicians in our country have attempted to pit immigrant communities against each other because they don’t believe all of us should be able to put down roots. This bill is another shameful page from the same playbook. We reject this bill’s pairing of a temporary increase for family-based and employment-based visas with attacks on asylum: our communities’ long-term safety and dignity will come when every immigrant family can find freedom from danger and give next generations a better life.

“Instead of turning a matter of human rights into a bargaining chip, Congress should pass effective, humane solutions that unite families, ensure people’s basic rights, and make the world a safer place. We don’t need more enforcement: we need more funding for community-based organizations providing relief to immigrants and more legal pathways into the U.S., including increased family-based immigration.

“We urge all lawmakers to reject this harmful bill as it fails to meet the needs of our communities and will create chaos at the border, and to pass the provisions that seek to make positive changes to our immigration system separately.”