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HIAS Alarmed by Administration's Comments on Asylum Seekers

HIAS is alarmed by the Biden administration’s latest comments on asylum seekers. President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Mayorkas have all made statements to the effect that asylum seekers “should not come" to the U.S.

“Telling asylum seekers they should not seek asylum in the United States is like telling someone whose house is on fire to just wait a bit longer,” said Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS. “Asylum seekers are people who are fleeing violence and looking for safety. You can’t dismiss them by saying ‘don’t come.’” 

HIAS acknowledges the steps the administration has taken to rebuild the asylum and refugee resettlement systems in the U.S, but we remain troubled by the administration’s rhetoric. The United States is required by domestic and international law to uphold the right to seek asylum, and disregarding the inherent human right to protection is concerning and out of step with the administration’s commitment to rebuild a fair and humane immigration system.

“People are coming to the U.S. with nothing but fear for their lives, and you cannot simply tell them not to come. That is not leadership. President Biden has said that we need an immigration system that both reflects our values and upholds our laws. Let him use the right language and action and work to put that in place.”

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