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Statement on End of Government Shutdown

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- Earlier today President Trump announced a deal that will reopen the federal government through February 15 in a deal that does not include any funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The President has made it clear that he is willing to shut the government down in the future, or declare a national emergency, in order to fund the border wall.

Last week, the administration offered a proposal to reopen the government to fund an unnecessary wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, while also fundamentally undermining access to the U.S. asylum system for adults and children from Central America. It is HIAS’ hope that in the coming weeks, Congress will present the President with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding proposal that does not include provisions that violate our asylum laws or our principles as a nation of immigrants but instead focuses on real solutions to real problems.

In response to President Trump’s announcement, Melanie Nezer, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for HIAS said, “While we are happy the government has reopened, the President shutting down the government over an ill-conceived border wall and threatening to declare national emergencies to fund it creates problems rather than solves them. We don’t need a wall, we need lawyers, judges, and other investments in a fair and humane asylum system that complies with U.S. and international law.”

In addition to proposals from the administration to restrict access to asylum in the U.S in exchange for reopening the government, the Trump administration also announced that DHS will begin implementing its “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers at the San Ysidro, California border checkpoint. Under this policy, Central Americans seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border will be forced to wait in Mexico pending their hearing before a U.S. immigration judge, leaving them in situations where their safety is at risk.

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