CWS Responds to State of the Union, Marks Progress, but Laments Absence of Protections for New Americans

February 7, 2023

Washington, D.C.—Following President Biden’s State of the Union address at the Capital, Church World Service tonight expresses its concern over neglecting to address the global forced displacement crisis. While the organization acknowledges the need to address pressing concerns around racial justice and economic security, the White House failed to stay consistent with its support towards New Americans, and fulfill its promise to terminate harmful and immoral immigration policies from the Trump administration. Though the Biden administration did extend welcomed protected status to vulnerable communities fleeing violence from Afghanistan and Ukraine, the administration should have committed to doing everything in its power to protect and honor individuals fleeing persecution.

CWS maintains that a piecemeal approach to global displacement is not in the spirit of our nation’s belief in welcome, and calls on the administration to reverse discriminatory policies to honor the generations before us that made the United States a beacon for the world.

In response to the State of the Union, Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy at CWS issued the following statement:

“While many of the initiatives and efforts mentioned tonight by President Biden are welcome, the larger issues of anti-asylum policies and an under-served resettlement system still remain. Over the past three years, we watched the Biden administration not only break promises to asylum seekers through the implementation of anti-asylum processes and to refugees by insufficiently addressing the lack of support to our long-standing resettlement program, but also to the American voters who elected him to address these issues. As it stands, President Biden’s legacy on asylum will be one of negligence and cruelty. We implore President Biden to change course, by keeping his promise to those seeking safety through expanding access to permanent protections, rolling back asylum bans, and committing to the implementation of a fair and humane asylum process.”

CWS additionally notes that the administration’s recently announced border initiatives—including the expansion of inhumane Title 42 expulsions—provide an example of how the Biden administration has at times continued to rely on Trump-era restrictions at the expense of vulnerable migrants.

For more information or to speak with Owen, contact