Resurrection of Trump-Era Ban is a Broken Promise to Asylum Seekers

Leah Tripp | February 21, 2023

Washington, D.C.—Following news that the Biden administration is preparing to implement a reckless, immoral, and harmful asylum ban, CWS today called on the White House to immediately reverse course and commit to asylum and border policies rooted in compassion and empathy. 

The proposed implementation is set to go into effect on May 11th– immediately after the anticipated end of Title 42. This ban would create a presumption that certain migrants are ineligible for asylum, if they have not first sought protection in a country they transited through en route to the border. This decision would effectively bar the majority of arrivals from accessing asylum protections.

“We are deeply disturbed that a version of a Trump administration asylum transit ban may be reinstated. Alongside our faith partners, we have repeatedly urged the Biden administration to put an end to punitive, deterrence-based policies at the border—ones that have caused irreparable damage, trauma, and loss of life over the past several years, under both the former and current administrations. By barring certain arrivals from accessing asylum, this would set a dangerous precedent that does not treat safety and asylum as a basic human right, but a privilege afforded to some and not others,” said Danilo Zak, Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy at CWS. “It is long past time for the White House to keep its promise and protect the lives and rights of all those legally seeking safety. The administration should honor permanent protections for those in danger and invest in the communities who welcome our new neighbors. Refusing to respect the humanity of the most vulnerable undermines American values, and must come to an end.” 

This policy is similar to restrictions put in place during the Trump administration, which then-candidate Biden campaigned against. The Trump-era version of this ban was struck down by court interventions on three occasions, due to it denying the fundamental human right to asylum. If now put into place, the ban would exchange the harm and discrimination of Title-42 for similar Trump-era policies that will put the lives of the most vulnerable at risk. 

Faith communities have resoundingly denounced anti-asylum policies that bar vulnerable populations from pursuing lasting protection. The right to asylum protections at the border is explicitly enshrined in U.S. immigration law, and any plan to contravene such legal precedent is not only morally repugnant, but in direct contradiction to the spirit of the United States and its communities.

CWS remains committed to advocating for the rights of those seeking safety, and intends to submit a comment to express our deep concern on February 23rd, as well as providing a platform to assist others in comment submission in the coming days and weeks.

For more information, or to speak with Zak, contact