Advocates gathered at the Colorado State Capitol west steps on Feb. 7, to condemn the White House and Senate proposal that would fundamentally dismantle the U.S. asylum system and called on U.S. Senator Hickenlooper and U.S. Senator Bennet to vote no on the supplemental funding bill and to stand for fair and due process for refugees and immigrants seeking safety for their families.
Asylum is sought when a person is fleeing political, religious, ethnic, racial or national persecution. Seeking asylum is a human right and a right designated under the international Refugee convention. This bill will decimate the U.S. asylum system, put people in urgent need of safety on a fast track to be deported back to harm’s way, and exacerbate rather than solve the humanitarian and operational challenges at the border.
Our asylum laws were drafted in the wake of the horrors of World War II, where the United States turned away nearly one thousand Jewish people fleeing for their lives. Decades later, U.S. Senators and the White House are using our communities as bargaining chips and are ready to co-sign a death sentence for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are seeking safety, stated Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC).
This proposal is also embedded in a bill that provides unrestricted military aid to fund armed conflicts, which drive many people to seek safety and asylum in the first place. This “deal” also includes what would be the largest appropriation of funds for immigration detention custody and surveillance operations in ICE’s history.
Our elected officials are not only failing to deliver on years of promises to enact reforms providing pathways to citizenship, they are actively supporting or considering a bill that will, whether passed or not, create a new starting point for future negotiations that double down on cruel and racist immigration policies, stated Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC).
“I am horrified to imagine the damage this bill will do if passed. People embark on dangerous journeys knowing that whatever they could encounter is safer than remaining in place. To get rid of Asylum is to give families a death sentence. I’m disappointed and in disbelief that Sen. Michael Bennet engaged in negotiations for this bill and stands in support of it. At one point in his political career he took pride in defending immigrant rights. His own family is here today because they were given an opportunity to immigrate and flee the holocaust. He is now pushing to close the door for other families. This bill not is a disgraceful stain on his legacy and on the values of our country. It not only jeopardizes lives by effectively ending the right to asylum in the US but also by allocating unrestricted funds to an already heavily militarized border. Rather than escalating violence, resources should be allocated towards expanding direct services crucial for those seeking safety. This vote will impact our community for generations,” shared Gladis Ibarra, Co-Executive Director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.
Specifically the bill would:
Violate the Refugee Convention by closing the border to people seeking safety: The centerpiece provision of the bill requires the U.S. government to seal the border to people seeking asylum when the numbers of people arriving at the border reach a certain “trigger number.” This would force the United States to close its doors to countless people in need of asylum protection and send them back to harm.
Exacerbate the humanitarian and operational challenges on the border: Like the procedurally similar Title 42 policy, expulsions and unpredictable border closures will create chaos and incentivize organized crime on the border. Refusing to process people so they may seek safety in the U.S. will mean they are trapped – unable to return home and vulnerable to kidnappings and violent crime by cartels and other armed groups. Under Title 42, people in this untenable situation were forced to try multiple times to reenter the United States, exacerbating processing delays.
Make asylum largely inaccessible for those who are permitted to ask for it at ports of entry: The bill creates a rushed new process for people seeking asylum, starting with a screening interview most will fail under newly heightened standards. People facing rushed deportations under this new process will have no access to immigration judge or federal judge review, effectively guaranteeing wrongful deportations.
Punish asylum seekers with imprisonment, while enriching private prison companies: The bill seeks record-breaking funding for immigration detention – higher levels than seen even during the Trump administration. Private prison companies will reap the benefits, while refugees will be punished with incarceration for the mere act of seeking safety.
- This Colorado Teacher Fights to Make a Change for Bilingual Students - February 29, 2024
- Washington, D.C. Tries to Catch Up With AI’s Use in Health Care - February 29, 2024
- Resilience in the Wake of a Killing - February 29, 2024