Border Bill would Pit the Persecuted Against the Persecuted—Benefiting Some, at the Expense of Moral Leadership

February 5, 2024

Washington, DC—Church World Service today condemned restrictions on access to protection for asylum seekers and newcomers in legislation released Sunday. Negotiated by a small, bipartisan group of senators in partnership with the Biden administration—against the wishes of faith communitiesservice providers, and those who would be directly-impacted—the proposal would continue dismantling crucial protections and undermine the credibility of the United States. CWS urges policymakers to remember that anti-asylum and anti-border restrictions would send a message of exclusion without addressing root causes driving displacement.

“Our country needs an investment in our shared values and in our communities. It is crucial that we face growing displacement with compassion and meaningful solutions. As proposed, this legislation would undermine our beliefs and turn our back on moral and legal obligations to welcome the persecuted,” said Erol Kekic, Senior Vice President at CWS. “The legislation includes vital funding for resettlement, a path to permanency for Afghans fleeing the Taliban, needed services for Ukrainians among us, and reuniting families forced to flee their homes. Although we support those measures, the administration and Congress must work to pass legislation that addresses these needs without causing unconscionable harm to vulnerable other populations.”

CWS recognizes that the proposal includes language that would expand permanent protections for certain populations, such as Afghans who assisted the U.S. mission overseas, unaccompanied children and Ukrainians fleeing Russian aggression. The organization does not deny the import of the proposed deal, however, trading protections for some vulnerable populations at the expense of others is unconscionable. The organization notes that gutting asylum protections will harm the very populations this legislation purports to protect, such as Afghans who are arriving at the U.S. southern border, and those who are part of separated families, who could be returned to the very harm that they are fleeing.

CWS calls on the administration and Congress to reject policies sowed in chaos, discord, and harm, and instead embrace solutions that honor the personhood of those seeking safety.

For more information, or to speak with Kekic, contact