Immigration Equality Welcomes Expanded Pathways for Refugees, Condemns Severe Dangers Posed to LGBTQ and HIV-Positive Asylum Seekers
New York, NY (April 28, 2023)— Yesterday, the Biden administration announced a plan intended to broadly address migration in the Western Hemisphere and more specifically address the processing of asylum seekers at the southern border. The announcement comes as the administration prepares to lift the Title 42 policy on May 11, which has illegally blocked refugees from pursuing their right to asylum in the U.S. for over three years.
The new plan includes the expansion of refugee resettlement and other limited pathways for people to reach the U.S. or be resettled in other countries. It also incorporates President Biden’s asylum ban, which will make asylum presumptively unavailable for many bona fide refugees if they do not: 1) first seek asylum in a transit country – countries that are notoriously dangerous for queer and trans people, or 2) wait in Mexico – where LGBTQ refugees are routinely brutalized – for an appointment with immigration officials through a notoriously inaccessible mobile app.
Immigration Equality’s Legal Director, Bridget Crawford, responded with the following statement:
“By implementing President Biden’s asylum ban, LGBTQ refugees will be forced to subject themselves to further danger in order to seek protection. That is illegal, immoral and contrary to President Biden’s promise to protect vulnerable LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers. We are also deeply concerned about the administration’s plan to fast track asylum eligibility interviews in Customs and Border Protection custody where LGBTQ and HIV-positive refugees face mistreatment, abuse and lack meaningful access to counsel.
“The Biden administration must stop taking a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to managing asylum processing. The ‘carrot’ of these alternative pathways creates a compelling incentive for anyone with the means to pursue them. However, the ‘stick’ of penalizing the most vulnerable refugees for saving their own lives is morally reprehensible, not to mention illegal.”
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