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IRAP Rings Alarm on “Catastrophic” Push to Permanently Trade Asylum Rights for Short Term Funding Bill


December 8, 2023


Spencer Tilger |


Biden Must Not Bargain With the Lives of Asylum Seekers

(New York, NY) – In response to the latest news that the White House is willing to enact draconian Trump-like asylum restrictions to get Republican support for a one-time spending deal, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) calls on President Biden to keep his word and protect rather than dismantle the right to seek asylum in the United States. 

The White House has signaled an openness to proposals that include a ban on asylum seekers who travel through third countries, raising the asylum screening standard to exclude many people fleeing for their lives, and a nationwide expansion of fast-track deportations to push people inside the United States back into danger without due process. Such policies would jeopardize people’s lives, undermine the country’s legal obligations and global moral leadership, and only create further chaos and despair at the border. 

IRAP Policy Director Sunil Varghese said: 

“Eviscerating asylum law in exchange for a short term funding bill would be nothing short of catastrophic for refugees and the United States. It would be shortsighted for President Biden to allow extremist politicians to hijack budget negotiations to pass xenophobic policies promoted by the likes of Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions, and former President Trump. 

These proposals are tantamount to reinstating Trump-era policies that President Biden, Democrats, and many Republicans alike have derided as anathema to fundamental American values. They would lead to racial profiling, family separation, severe harassment, and the trampling of the civil rights and liberties of immigrants seeking safety and people of color throughout the United States. Rather than make the country safer, these proposals would only sow chaos, lead to more deaths and insecurity, and allow agents of fear to advance a hateful agenda. Caving into these undemocratic tactics sets a dangerous precedent for the future.

We demand better of President Biden.”

Additional Resources

  • Read a statement to Congress from 188 groups expressing concern about the potential changes to asylum law and parole: HERE
  • Read IRAP’s previous statement opposing these changes: HERE

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is a global legal aid and advocacy organization working to create a world where refugees and all people seeking safety are empowered to claim their right to freedom of movement and a path to lasting refuge. Everyone should have a safe place to live and a safe way to get there.