UUSC Calls Biden’s Asylum Ban a Stunning Betrayal of U.S. Commitments

Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.

UUSC Calls Biden’s Asylum Ban a Stunning Betrayal of U.S. Commitments


Earlier this week, the White House announced sweeping new restrictions on the right to seek asylum in the United States—including a categorical ban on asylum claims from most people who cross the border outside ports of entry while the order’s “emergency circumstances” are in effect. In response, UUSC issued the following response: 

Biden’s latest executive action is a stunning betrayal of U.S. commitments and the president’s own promises to people seeking refuge. The proclamation—and the accompanying regulations and guidance that implement it—would create a series of arbitrary barriers for people facing persecution and torture in their countries of origin. The sum effect of these changes is inevitably that more people will be deported to their home countries, despite having strong claims for humanitarian relief which they will never be able to present fully to authorities. The impact of these changes will also fall hardest on Indigenous asylum-seekers, who may struggle to find linguistically-competent legal representation and interpretation, and on Black, women, and LGBTQ+ asylum-seekers and people with disabilities, who face other forms of structural discrimination in the system. 

The fig-leaf of legal protection for the new order comes from Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Disgracefully, this is the same law Trump used to impose his racist Muslim Ban and Africa Ban. The section has never before been upheld as an excuse to override U.S. asylum law, however. When Trump tried to use it for this purpose during his term, his ban was struck down. Biden’s similar venture should be halted as well. We therefore welcome the pledges of other human rights advocates to challenge this unlawful policy in court

The crisis is not one of migration or borders; it is one of affirming the worth and dignity of all through the human right to migrate. UUSC supports partners creating a world where the inherent dignity and human worth of every human being is upheld and. The Biden administration must act quickly to preserve U.S. humanitarian obligations under international law. 

UUSC and our partners are working across the continent to advance justice and dignity for people in migration. Sign up for our email list to learn more and receive chances to take action here.