TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to Reject Ineffective, Harmful Proposals and Refocus on Urgently-Needed Solutions

January 26, 2024

According to multiple reports, the Senate is continuing to negotiate a deal that could pair devastating, permanent restrictions on protections for asylum seekers and other immigrants with needed foreign assistance funding. The proposed anti-asylum legislation includes a number of troubling provisions that would place people fleeing persecution in harm’s way. The measures under consideration include:

  • An expulsion authority that would allow a presidential administration to return arriving migrants before they ever have an opportunity to make a case for protection. The measure would be similar to Title 42, the immoral and unlawful pandemic-era policy that resulted in the immediate arbitrary expulsion of millions of new arrivals and was linked to nearly ten thousand violent attacks on people seeking safety.
  • Limitations on the president’s authority to protect at-risk populations through humanitarian parole. The Biden administration has used parole to temporarily protect displaced people in times of emergent crisis, including Afghans and Ukrainians. Parole has also been a vital tool to manage the border, offering one of the few complementary pathways that is critical in an emergency or urgent crisis.
  • Expanded use of expedited removal, detention, and deportation that would separate and detain families and place lives at risk. Immigration detention and expedited removal expansions like the Family Expedited Removal Management (FERM) program have been shown to be ineffective, costly, and ridden with human rights abuses and due process violations. 

These extreme, anti-immigrant, anti-family proposals violate our moral and legal obligations – and would do nothing to address challenges at the border. Congress must categorically reject these restrictions and – in supplemental and full year appropriations discussions –  instead turn to solutions that would improve border processing, support refugees and newcomers, and uphold our nation’s legacy of welcome. 

Practical and actionable measures include supporting migrant shelters and case management programming, promoting access to safe and affordable housing, removing barriers to work authorization, and robustly funding key accounts that support our capacity to serve and ensure the successful integration of new arrivals.

On the right hand side you can send an email to your Members of Congress.

Sample Script/Email: “My name is [insert name], and as your constituent from [City/Town] and a [person of faith/refugee/member of my community], I urge you to oppose the inclusion of devastating, permanent anti-asylum and parole restrictions with unrelated, yet needed spending in ongoing supplemental negotiations – and to instead support programs, policies, and funding that uphold our nation’s legacy of welcome. Specifically, I urge you to:

  • Reject draconian anti-asylum and humanitarian parole restrictions currently under negotiation in the Senate. The draconian restrictions reportedly under consideration include Title 42-style border expulsions, limitations on humanitarian parole, and increased detention and deportations. These provisions would lead to tremendous human suffering and do nothing to improve the situation at the border.
  • Support solutions that would meaningfully address challenges at the border.
    • Improve and robustly fund the Shelter and Services Program (SSP), which supports recently-arrived asylum seekers and the communities working to welcome them. 
    • Support and expand the Case Management Pilot Program, which provides asylum seekers around the country with sustained, trauma-informed, community-based case management, including mental health care and legal orientation programming.
    • Support legislation to remove barriers to work authorization. The House Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act (H.R. 1325) reduces the 180 day wait for eligibility to 30 days and makes it easier to renew and retain employment authorization documents (EADs).
  • Support investment in the long-term integration and economic success of newcomers.
    • Robustly fund the Refugee and Entrant Assistance Account (REA), which supports the Office of Refugee Resettlement by funding core services such as job training, English language classes, services for unaccompanied children, and refugee school impact grants.
    • Robustly fund the Migration and Refugee Assistance Account (MRA), which protects families fleeing life-threatening situations and funds durable solutions to protect refugees, including resettlement through USRAP.
    • Uphold our promises to arriving Afghan and Ukrainian humanitarian parolees by extending access to certain Office of Refugee Resettlement and mainstream benefits to those who arrived after September 30th and have been suddenly cut off. 
    • Support newcomer’s access to safe, affordable, and sustainable housing. Congress should establish a refugee/newcomer housing voucher, designate and fund a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ombudsman position to focus on newcomer housing challenges, and invest in affordable housing programs for all.  
    • For full funding recommendations, see: https://bit.ly/RCUSAFY24FundingNeeds

I urge you to reject attempts to dismantle the right to seek safety in the U.S. and instead support policies and investments that promote community wholeness, as well as the flourishing of newcomers and the communities that welcome them. Thank you.”

Share this message with national leaders on social media! See below for sample social media posts, and see here for sample graphics.

@legislator Three ways you can invest in our capacity to welcome:
– Support overseas refugee assistance accounts
– Support funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement
– Support housing vouchers to promote access to safe, affordable housing.

@legislator it’s a fact: Refugees make our communities strong. It is critical for Congress to invest in welcoming programs that allow newcomers to integrate and thrive. #RefugeesWelcome

Additional Resources:

Funding Priorities

Analysis of Asylum Provisions and Solutions

Housing Solutions and Resources