Congress Must Reject Anti-Asylum Changes in Budget Negotiations

Statement from Refugees International Director for the Americas and Europe Yael Schacher:

“Refugees International is alarmed at Senate negotiations to potentially condition funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan on permanent changes to asylum law and parole authority that would put the lives of people seeking safety at risk.

Heightening the asylum standard and deeming transit countries safe would violate international law and do nothing to stop people from coming to the border. And limiting parole would end a program that has proved a lifeline for tens of thousands of Ukrainians and so many others for 70 years.

The rise in migration to the border is attributable to worsening political and humanitarian crises abroad that have produced historically high numbers of people needing protection. Congress and the Executive branch should focus on scaling up our ability to humanely and efficiently provide protection to meet this growing need. This requires reform of our legal immigration system and our immigration courts, and federal support for the processing of asylum and work authorization applications and community-based services for newcomers. Trading issues away in backroom appropriations discussions is the opposite of facing up to the challenge of addressing them.

Indeed, the needs in border and interior cities receiving asylum seekers reflect broader issues Congress can and should constructively address that affect us all, such as enforcement policies that harm rather than help border communities, the lack of affordable housing in U.S. cities, and a statutory provision preventing people seeking safety from working at a time of unprecedented labor shortages.

Most of all, our history of providing refuge to people seeking safety should not be bartered. Refugees International urges Senators not to turn their backs on humanitarian protections and to focus their attention on productive and humane solutions.” 

For more information or to schedule an interview with Yael Schacher, contact Etant Dupain at