CGRS Concerned Biden Policies Will Undermine Fairness, Endanger Refugee Families

Friday, May 28, 2021


The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) is deeply concerned by today’s announcement that the Biden administration will begin fast-tracking asylum cases for certain families seeking refuge. By establishing a “dedicated docket” for asylum-seeking families, the administration will sacrifice fairness in the name of speed, adopting a misguided approach that under both the Obama and Trump administrations contributed to record backlogs in the immigration system, eroded due process, and endangered lives. Instead of reviving the failed policies of past administrations, the Biden administration should swiftly end cruel and illegal Trump-era policies and fully restore safe asylum processing at the southern border.

Today’s announcement arrives at a time when families seeking asylum face enormous roadblocks to safety and justice. Over four months into its first term, the Biden administration has failed to end myriad Trump-era policies that continue to place refugees at risk of grave violence, and even death. It is shameful that the administration is prioritizing fast-tracked adjudications while continuing to illegally expel asylum seekers to danger under the widely debunked pretext of the pandemic. So long as the Title 42 policy remains in place, there can be no safe or fair process for asylum seekers.

The Biden administration also has yet to address Trump policies that have gutted protections for people escaping domestic violence and gang brutality, including many of the families impacted by this new policy. Until Attorney General Garland takes action to reverse these policies, the asylum system will remain rigged against families fleeing violence in their homes and communities, who will be wrongly denied protection and ordered deported to the very dangers they’ve fled. Rushing adjudications will make it even more difficult for these families to find safety, further undermining any semblance of fairness in the asylum process.

“CGRS and our partners have set forth a clear roadmap for the Biden administration to adjudicate asylum cases in a timely manner and mitigate backlogs, all while improving fairness and protecting due process,” CGRS Legal Director Blaine Bookey said today. “As advocates, we’ve been down this road before. We know policies that rush asylum adjudications fail to keep families and children safe. We implore the administration not to make the mistake of putting speed above justice.”’

Advocates, asylum seekers, and communities are coming together to demand an asylum system that provides every person a safe and fair opportunity to seek protection, with full access to legal representation and community-based support. The Biden administration should put humanity first, reject the cruel policies of the past, and welcome people seeking asylum with dignity.