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New pathways to safety cannot come at the expense of asylum seekers at the border

For Immediate Release

April 27, 2023

Contact: Alicia Vargas, 213-653-1442;

Los Angeles, CA: Today, the Biden Administration announced a series of policies to process asylum seekers and those who wish to enter the country after Title 42 expires on May 11. These policies include: increased use of punitive enforcement, regional processing centers in Latin America and expansion of family reunification avenues. In response, Immigrant Defenders Law Center (ImmDef) issued the following statement:

While ImmDef welcomes the expansion of legal pathways and hopes their implementation will prove them to be accessible and fair, we condemn the Biden Administration’s insistence that these new pathways are coupled with new policies that essentially end meaningful access to asylum at the U.S. southern border. The expansion of expedited removal, and its application to families, only serves to further erode the due process rights of those most in need of protection.  President Biden promised during his campaign to restore dignity and humanity to our asylum system and today's announcements are a further betrayal of the values he claimed he would hold on to.

“Conducting expedited asylum procedures while people, including small children, are trapped in Customs and Border Protection holding cells is not meaningful access to asylum protection. Expanding access for some cannot come at the cost of denying due process rights to the most vulnerable. For a mom who flees to the border the middle of the night with a backpack and her kids in tow, telling them they can't seek asylum because they didn't sign up through an app or go to a processing center in Guatemala is inhumane. When the Administration talks about increasing the speed of removals and putting ankle shackles on families, they are talking about actual human beings and about policies that will put people's lives at risk.” stated Lindsay Toczylowski, Executive Director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center.

“People should be afforded dignity, not detained or subjected to intrusive surveillance by the United States government. We must stop treating asylum seekers as if they’ve done something wrong when they’re simply seeking the legal protections required by both domestic laws and international treaties,” added Alvaro Huerta, ImmDef’s Director of Litigation and Advocacy.

“Asylum law is meant to protect the most vulnerable from danger and death. It is meant to provide a path to refuge for those who are not safe. Subjecting asylum seekers to questioning while jailed in miserable Customs and Border Protection facilities is setting them up to fail. Fast-tracked asylum policies result in a lack of access to evidence, witnesses, legal advice and representation. We should show to those fleeing persecution and these policies are far from that,” stated Directing Attorney of Policy and Advocacy Margaret Cargioli.


Immigrant Defenders Law Center (ImmDef) is a next-generation social justice law firm that defends our immigrant communities against injustices in the legal system. We envision a future where no immigrant will be forced to face an unjust immigration court alone. Our programs are a first step towards the long-term goal of providing universal representation to all immigrants facing deportation. ImmDef is now the largest non‐profit, pro bono provider of deportation defense in California with offices in Los Angeles, Riverside, Santa Ana, and San Diego.

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