New Parole Program Must Not Weaken Access to Asylum Amidst Historic Regional Crises

Please see below statement from Refugees International President Jeremy Konyndyk:

“The Biden administration’s expansion of parole authority contains positive steps to increase protective pathways from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela but needlessly ties this new policy to an unacceptable weakening of core U.S. asylum commitments. As Refugees International has argued, expansions of parole must not be premised on widening the Trump-era abuse of Title 42 or other measures that undermine fundamental asylum protections.

As President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas both affirmed in their remarks today, providing asylum to those at risk is a core humanitarian obligation and one of America’s proudest traditions. Sadly, some of the policies they are proposing would actually mark a worrisome departure from that important legacy.

Parole is not a substitute for asylum. Conflating those measures, as the administration proposes, would undermine the importance of asylum as a measure for protecting vulnerable people. Access to asylum protections should not hinge on access to a phone app, a passport, an expensive plane ticket, and a domestic sponsor. Denying asylum eligibility to those who do not pursue this new parole pathway would violate the long-enshrined legal right to seek asylum and would in practice deny protection to many people urgently seeking safety.

The Biden administration’s plan also maintains—and expands—the abuse of the Title 42 public health authority, which the administration admits has no public health justification. This is a needless and unjustifiable extension of a baldly xenophobic policy used by the previous administration as a pretext to contravene asylum obligations.

Expanding the parole pathway to up to 360,000 people per year is a laudable and meaningful step toward a more orderly process for managing migration. But this need not and must not serve to erode the core right to seek asylum under U.S. and international law.” 

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Refugees International’s Communications and Design Manager Aviva Shwayder at

Photo Caption: Nicaraguan migrant Jose Galeano poses for a picture in his room before starting his journey to the United States in Managua on October 27, 2022. © STR/AFP via Getty Images