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IRAP Urges Congress to Reject Anti-Asylum Spending Bill


February 5, 2024


Spencer Tilger |


Bill Would Permanently Gut Asylum Access, Create Border Chaos

(New York, NY) – After months of negotiations, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released the text and a section-by-section summary of a bill that would permanently gut asylum protections in exchange for a one-time spending deal. Harmful provisions in the bill include raising the credible fear of persecution standard, rushing asylum cases without due process, and creating a new expulsion authority modeled after Title 42. Together, these measures would deny many vulnerable people seeking protection the chance to adequately present their claims and send them back into danger. Unlike previous bipartisan efforts, this spending deal provides no path to citizenship to long-time undocumented Americans and instead reinforces the dangerous rhetoric espoused by former President Trump and now President Biden to “shut down the border.”

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) calls on Congress to reject the deal, protect the right to seek asylum, and come together for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform that modernizes the U.S. immigration system, creates new and expanded legal pathways, and upholds this country’s international legal obligations and desire for global moral leadership. The current bill does none of this. 

IRAP Policy Director Sunil Varghese said: 

“The tragedy of this bill is that there actually is bipartisan support to reform and modernize the sorely outdated U.S. immigration system. There is a strong desire in this country to bring people out of the shadows, attract workers and entrepreneurs, reunite families, and welcome people seeking safety. But this product of secret backroom negotiations solely aimed to address a false and xenophobic narrative of fear and invasion at the border falls dramatically short. The inclusion of positive provisions such as a pathway to permanent status for Afghan parolees and expanded access to legal counsel for unaccompanied children do not lessen the cruelty of this bill. The administration and authors of the bill are pitting vulnerable populations against each other in a doomed attempt to win support from hardliners who have no real interest in creating a functional immigration system. The only thing they have accomplished is to move the starting conversation further to the right.”

Additional Resources

  • Read a press release from the Welcome With Dignity Coalition opposing Biden’s embrace of Title 42-style expulsions: HERE
  • Read a statement to Congress from 188 groups expressing concern about the potential changes to asylum law: 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.