Further restricting asylum is not the answer

May 10, 2024
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Yanci Nuñez | [email protected] (312) 866-0312



Chicago, IL – Alianza Americas, a network of organizations led by immigrants of Latin American origin throughout the United States, rejects the Biden’s administration decision of the proposed rule to apply asylum bars during the credible fear interview and their statement on the enforcement of the Circumvention of Lawful Pathways Rule that considers whether persons seeking asylum could have relocated to another part of the country from which they flee to determine their credible fear.


“Alianza Americas insists on the need to create pathways for individuals fleeing their countries who may not fit the asylum definition, which has become narrower and leaves out thousands of individuals and families who are fleeing their countries seeking safety and dignity,” said Helena Olea, Deputy Director for Programs of Alianza Americas.


This proposed rule, announced by the Department of Homeland Security, will bar individuals with criminal convictions for serious offenses from passing the credible fear interview, ultimately denying them access to asylum. “We must remember that asylum seekers are not a threat to the United States or its citizens. They are vulnerable individuals seeking protection”, said Daysi Funes, Director of Centro Romero, a member organization of Alianza Americas.  While this will impact less than 3% of asylum seekers, a prior criminal conviction does not make a person a security threat. This proposed rule denies fairness and undermines resocialization, a core principle of the criminal legal system. “Immigration judges have the ability to make a determination on whether a prior conviction bars a person from being granted asylum. Leaving that responsibility to asylum officers during credible fear interviews, without legal representation, will result in unfair determinations, undermine due process law, and return many back to dangerous situations,” added Funes. 


The enforcement of the circumvention of lawful pathways rule punishes those who cross the border irregularly to seek asylum, along with higher standards for credible fear processing, including applying the internal relocation standards. “The definition of asylum is outdated; it was adopted at the end of the Second World War. We are applying standards from seven decades ago to human mobility today,” affirmed Helena Olea. It is inexplicable that the U.S. government expects individuals and families to move to another part of their territory when there is no infrastructure to support and offer them protection, including humanitarian assistance.  


“In the presence of anti-immigrant narratives, the Biden administration should lead with innovative administrative measures that create migration pathways and simplify asylum processes. Further restricting asylum and revamping some of the failed attempts of the prior administration will only increase the number of those removed from the U.S., many of whom face persecution, danger, and immense suffering. The U.S. should be an example of modern asylum law, of justice and fairness, and it is abdicating that role,” added Olea.  




Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America.

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