WASHINGTON, D.C.-- African Communities Together is shocked and appalled by President Biden’s recent statement promising to shut down asylum access at the border and put families and individuals in danger. Despite President Biden’s claims, this strategy is not a “win for America.” It is not the “fair, orderly, and humane” immigration system that the American people were promised, instead, it plays to the xenophobic and racist rhetoric that the previous administration fomented.
The crisis at the border does not start at the border, and neither do the solutions. Across the globe, over 100 million people are forcibly displaced. People, including millions of Africans, are forced to leave their home countries because of armed conflict, economic and political instability, violence, extreme poverty, and climate change. While the decision to uproot one’s life is never an easy one to make, the desire to seek safety is a natural human response to life-threatening conditions. Asylum often provides that last shred of hope for safety.
Therefore, the idea that any President should be able to “shut down the border” and deny people access to asylum is dangerous. It also violates international law and threatens our moral standing in the international community. Most importantly, it does not address the reasons that individuals and their families are seeking safety and does nothing to promote a process at the border that is fair, orderly, or humane.
Being “tough and fair” means doing what’s right even when it’s hard. It means fighting for resources to more efficiently handle migrant processing at the southern border. It means supporting cities welcoming new migrants by providing funding necessary to aid in their resettling. It means creating new legal immigration pathways that have been shown to decrease the numbers at the border. It means not participating in negotiations that aim to punish people seeking safety.
We need sustainable and deliberate reforms that make our immigration system smoother and more equitable for all. We need real solutions that welcome immigrants with dignity.