ASISTA Denounces President Biden’s Dangerous Border Proclamation

ASISTA Denounces President Biden’s Dangerous Border Proclamation

Today, President Biden issued a proclamation to “secure the border” between the US and Mexico, to take effect at midnight tonight. This action, unfortunately, will accomplish just the opposite, sowing chaos and further compounding the trauma of those who arrive here urgently seeking safety. Deterrence policies like these have resoundingly failed at their stated aims, and this proclamation will have devastating effects.

Survivors of violence and their children—who have been traumatized in their home country and, often, on the perilous journey to the US as well—will suffer particular harm as a result of this policy, in direct contradiction to President Biden’s frequently stated concern for victims of violence. A notably cruel feature of this new policy provides that only those who affirmatively express their fear of torture or persecution or desire to apply for asylum will be provided the opportunity to apply. The countless traumatized individuals who do not know to announce their fear immediately, without ever being asked, will be turned away to face additional danger. Historically marginalized and under-resourced communities and people, including survivors of color and LGBTQI+ survivors, always bear these life-threatening burdens disproportionately, and this time will be no different.

The proclamation outlines a set of draconian measures that are triggered by a numerical cap of individuals seeking to enter the US. Intentionally choosing a cap that is well below current numbers of arriving migrants—and an even lower numerical threshold to pause the order—ensures that thousands of arriving migrants will be turned away. In the meantime, numbers of those awaiting entry will rise, while access to safety and basic services for those waiting become increasingly, and dangerously, out of reach.

There are orderly ways to welcome new arrivals and assess their needs. By choosing instead to turn traumatized people away, denying them their human right to seek safety here, this administration chooses further harm to those most in need of critical protection. We urge the administration to reverse course immediately and instead invest in more effectively receiving and processing the cases of people seeking asylum.

Kirsten Rambo, Executive Director of ASISTA, notes, “Every person deserves safety and dignity, no matter where we are born. While this administration tragically mimics the cruel and ineffective policies of the prior one, we at ASISTA will continue pushing relentlessly for policies that advance the dignity, safety, and justice that survivors of gender-based violence and their children deserve.”

Established in 2008, ASISTA is a national leader in the movement for safety and justice for immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. ASISTA’s founders helped write the immigration provisions of the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act (TVPA), affording legal status to hundreds of thousands of survivors and their children since 1994. With over 2,500 members nationwide, ASISTA’s work is focused on 1) providing expert case consultation, training, and resources to attorneys and advocates navigating the complex immigration system on behalf of survivors of gender-based violence, including intervening in specific cases as needed; 2) pushing for federal, state and local policies that ensure safety and justice for immigrant survivors; and 3) coordinating lawsuits to prevent the government from unfairly deporting survivors of violence. To learn more about ASISTA’s work, click here. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, X, & Instagram.