WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators continue negotiations on President Biden’s supplemental funding request this week. According to reports, negotiations include support to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, along with harmful changes to U.S. immigration policies. The deal in discussion would eliminate or reduce asylum protections and undermine humanitarian and other forms of parole.
The proposed changes, if implemented, would have a devastating impact on marginalized and vulnerable populations globally. CVT provides rehabilitative care to asylum seekers and refugees fleeing conflict, violence and persecution. Our clients tell us about their long and arduous journeys, their trauma and harm. And they tell us what it means to them to finally reach safety. If these changes are implemented, many people like our clients will never be safe – they will be sent back and put in harm’s way.
“Access to asylum isn’t a trade chip that can be negotiated away; it’s a fundamental human right—enshrined in both U.S. and international law,” said Scott Roehm, CVT director of global policy and advocacy. “The U.S. asylum system, and immigration system more broadly, is in desperate need of smart reform and additional funding. That’s where all Members of Congress should be focusing their energy, and not on advocating for – or even considering – legislative changes that would further jeopardize the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
For far too long the U.S. immigration system has been under assault. Given the precarious state of the world, the U.S. should abide by its domestic and international obligations to provide safety and refuge to those who need it – not turn them away. Lawmakers should work to improve the immigration system. CVT has advocated for the development of a trauma-informed asylum system – one that addresses and minimizes harm, rather than perpetuates it.
Earlier this month, CVT joined over 190 civil and human rights organizations in a letter to President Biden expressing concern about the impact of the proposals and urging him to fulfill his promise “to “restore our asylum system” and affirm U.S. global leadership on refugee protection.” The Biden administration must make good on its promise.
The Center for Victims of Torture is a nonprofit organization with offices in Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda, United States and additional project sites around the world.