The expectation that asylum seekers apply for protection in another country first is not feasible for many asylum seekers due to a variety of factors, including because they face continued violence and repression in the third country or because that country is unable to meet their needs. Under the UN Refugee Convention, entering a country without documentation is not a valid reason for a state to deny an asylum claim.
While the Biden administration also announced a new humanitarian parole program, that program is only open to a limited number of people from Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Cuba. It requires recipients to have access to passports, sponsors in the United States, and money to buy plane tickets. Migrants fleeing dangerous conditions, like a repressive government or threats of violence, often cannot safely wait in their home country for permission to arrive in the United States. While the humanitarian parole program will provide relief to some, new immigration pathways should never be accompanied by crackdowns on migrants who cannot use them.
Christians are called to remember that migrants are our siblings who walk the same path as Christ. When Jesus tells us to welcome the stranger, he emphasizes that “just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). In this proposal, we have an unequal system where “the least of these” are shut out from access to asylum. Tell President Biden to uphold his campaign promise of equitable access to asylum in the United States and ask your members of Congress to denounce the administration’s push to limit asylum. This means no expansion of Title 42 and no limits on the right to seek asylum based on transit through a third country.