Immigrant advocates denounce Biden’s proposed anti-immigrant executive order

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service
Executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition Murad Awawdeh.

The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), an umbrella policy and advocacy organization that represents over 200 immigrant and refugee rights groups throughout New York State, has denounced a proposed anti-immigrant executive order by President Joe Biden that would prevent Caribbean and other migrants entering the US from the Southern Border from claiming asylum.

The initiative would suspend America’s long-standing policy of considering asylum for migrants once they land on US soil.

Most of the migrants and asylum seekers arriving in New York and other northern states from the southern border of the United States are nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Guatemala.

“What is needed now more than ever from the Biden administration is to ensure that any border security executive actions protect due process for asylum seekers and provide resources for a fair, efficient and humane asylum system,” NYIC’s Executive Director Murad Awawdeh told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) on Wednesday.

“The cruel measures being proposed collectively create a government mandated asylum ban, which even Border officials contend will only create more chaos at the southern border, while failing to address the real issue at hand,” he added. “Our nation has an obligation to uphold its commitment to its humanitarian values and ensuring the safety of all communities seeking protection within our borders.”

Awawdeh, therefore, called on the Biden administration to abandon “this cruel proposed plan and immediately invest in strategic, humane actions that will help secure our border and provide fair treatment for asylum seekers.”

According to reports, Biden is seriously considering using a law, which dates back to 1952, that significantly limits access to the US asylum system.

The legislation, known as 212(f), permits the US President to “suspend the entry” of migrants seeking asylum, when he determines that it is not in America’s best interest.

Last week, House Republicans rejected a deal brokered by the White House and a bi-partisan group of Senators that would permit the president to summarily prohibit illegal migration.

White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández on Wednesday blamed Republican legislators for heightening the immigration crisis, stating that they “chose to put partisan politics ahead of our national security.”

“No executive action, no matter how aggressive, can deliver the significant policy reforms and additional resources Congress can provide and that Republicans rejected,” he said. “We continue to call on Speaker (Mike) Johnson and House Republicans to pass the bipartisan deal to secure the border.

“The administration spent months negotiating in good faith to deliver the toughest and fairest bipartisan border security bill in decades, because we need Congress to make significant policy reforms and to provide additional funding to secure our border and fix our broken immigration system,” he added. “Congressional Republicans chose to put partisan politics ahead of our national security, rejected what border agents have said they need, and then gave themselves a two-week vacation.”

Last month, New York Governor Kathy Hochul led a nine-governor coalition calling for US federal action on immigration.

In a letter to the White House and Congressional leaders, Hochul and eight colleagues from across the nation call for US$1.4 billion in aid to states and localities, as well as a comprehensive border security legislative package.

The nine-governor coalition included Governors Katie Hobbs of Arizona, Gavin Newsom of California, Jared Polis of Colorado, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Wes Moore of Maryland, Maura Healey of Massachusetts, Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico.

The letter was addressed to President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Johnson and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

“As governors representing over 100 million Americans, we write to call on Washington to work together to solve what has become a humanitarian crisis,” the letter says. “The sustained arrival of individuals seeking asylum and requiring shelter and assistance, due to lack of Congressional action on infrastructure and policies, can only be addressed with federal organizational support and funding to meet the public safety and humanitarian needs of our local communities.

“With ongoing conflicts around the world, global migration is at a historic high,” the letter adds. “States and cities cannot indefinitely respond to the subsequent strain on state and local resources without Congressional action.”

Caribbean-American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke had also joined immigration advocates, caucus chairs and prominent United States House of Representatives’ Democrats in urging US senators to reject compromises on immigrants’ rights in ongoing border negotiations.

“The success of this great nation, in large part, has relied upon encouraging people from across the globe to come here and contribute to the United States. It’s part of the promise of America – a beacon of hope and refuge from those fleeing persecution, war, and violence,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, in addressing a press conference in Washington, D.C. on the issue.

“But, right now, members of congress are working on proposals that would significantly harm our asylum system and deter people from seeking critical protection,” added the First Vice Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and representative for the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York.

“Turning our back on asylum seekers is not only counter to our laws, but also a betrayal of our morals and values as Americans,” Clarke continued. “We cannot go back to the dark days of Trump-era policies that sought to destroy every essence of humanity in our immigration system.

“It’s time that our elected leaders put real solutions over politics,” she urged.

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