Washington, D.C.—Church World Service today called on Congress to vote down the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act, legislation that would establish an unfair asylum process at the border and create punitive barriers for those wishing to reunite unaccompanied children with loved ones. The bill, introduced by Senators Cornyn (R-TX) and Sinema (D-AZ) and Representatives Gonzales (R-TX-23) and Cuellar (D-TX-28), is framed in the language of protection, due process, and efficiency, but does little more than double-down on failed practices, proven to harm those seeking asylum in the United States.
“Although couched in friendly terms, this bill both threatens our capacity to welcome asylum seekers and immigrants and undermines our values of compassion and welcome. Any proposal that increases reliance on Customs and Border Protection—an agency rampant with corruption and abuse—serves only to dehumanize our neighbors. Rather than focusing on deterrence and detention, the United States should invest in proven community-based alternatives,” said Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Church World Service. “A compassionate and fair immigration policy should be rooted in welcoming asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, and immigrants. It should end immigrant detention and deportation, while restoring all asylum protections. Now is the time to increase equity and due process in asylum adjudications to reflect our moral leadership as a beacon of hope to people fleeing violence and persecution. We stand ready with our member communions to welcome and assist.”
CWS notes that the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act contains provisions that appear aimed at monitoring and accountability, and that seek to expand the Legal Orientation Program (LOP) to DHS facilities, including the newly proposed processing centers. The organization notes, however, that these provisions in no way mitigate the damage of a rushed border detention asylum process, or the harm to the reunification of unaccompanied children, that the bill would create.
Church World Service urges members of Congress to support the Refugee Protection Act and to demand the Biden administration implement measures that uphold U.S. refugee law and leadership.
For more information, or to speak with Owen, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.