By: Ana Ruiz
The Children’s Defense Fund-Texas strongly opposes the Proposed Changes to Security Bars and Processing published in the Federal Register. The proposed rule would punish families and children that come to our country in search of safety for public health crises outside of their control. We urge that the rule be withdrawn in its entirety.
This administration is using this pandemic and the accompanying concern for public health as a pretext for this proposed rule. However, public health professionals have made it clear that barring asylum seekers serves no legitimate public health purpose. Various public health experts spoke out against the March 20th CDC order that allowed the U.S. government to immediately turn back asylum seekers at the border. This order’s justification was that migrants and asylum seekers would be held in CBP custody in congregate settings and for extended periods of time. The proposed rule uses similar justification, citing the safety of CBP and ICE staff as a reason to bar asylum-seekers from protections. In response, public health and legal experts have rightly pointed out that the federal government has the discretion and authority to expeditiously release asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors from custody. These agencies are particularly well-positioned for this release since 92 percent of asylum seekers have friends or family they could shelter within the United States.
This administration knows that they cannot destroy the asylum system through legislation because immigration is essential to this country. They are circumventing laws that protect immigration and setting up dominos for us to knock down through yet another proposed regulation. Immigration law already includes limits based on public health and U.S. land borders are essentially shut down due to the aforementioned CDC order. This rule is cruel and unnecessary, all it does is add one more lock to a dead bolted door. This administration should withdraw this proposal and implement the guidance provided by medical and immigration experts to truly protect the health and well-being of every family and child in the United States.
Click here to read the CDF-Texas’ full public comment on the Trump administration’s proposal to use COVID-19 to ban asylum-seekers.
Click here to submit your own public comment to delay the passing of this ban- the administration has to respond to each unique one.