Please see below statement from Refugees International’s Director for the Americas and Europe Yael Schacher:
“The administration’s announcement today is an historical acknowledgement, long called for by Refugees International, that people in the Americas are refugees and that there is an urgent need for increased resettlement from the hemisphere, as well as additional lawful pathways to unite migrants from the Caribbean and Central America with family members in the United States. Refugees International encourages the administration and Congress to work together to expand pathways for forcibly displaced people in the hemisphere, including those impacted by climate change.
The announced regional processing centers, however, will take time to establish and scale up, and, in the meantime, enforcement actions in the region will leave refugees precariously stranded, lead to push backs, and create other dangers for refugees on the move. Like the CBP One app used to schedule appointments at land border ports of entry, the demand for appointments to access pathways in the region will outstrip supply, and not everyone who needs one will be eligible. Further, under the processes announced today, many who seek refuge by traveling to the United States by sea or coming to the U.S.-Mexico border will not be eligible for asylum or receive a fair hearing on their claims, especially because they will have no true access to counsel. Processing asylum seekers in Border Patrol custody along the lines announced today has failed in the past and will lead to removal of those with credible claims for protection.
A truly comprehensive approach to protection in the region requires that the Biden administration publish its long-belated regulation specifying how individuals fleeing gang and domestic violence and persecution based on a particular social group can qualify for refugee status. It requires further investment in case management and humane processing in the United States, as well as improved access to work authorization and services for asylum seekers. It also requires transparency on proposed agreements with Mexico regarding the treatment and reception of migrants. Efforts to direct refugees towards pathways can never justify barriers to exit, violations of the human rights of migrants, or refoulement.”
To schedule an interview, please contact Refugees International’s Vice President for Strategic Outreach Sarah Sheffer at email@example.com.