By Ramneet Singh
WASHINGTON DC – The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is criticizing the Biden Administration’s recent immigration policy partly because of what the coalition calls the policy’s punitive measures and limited scope.
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is responding to President Biden’s decision “to increase migration-deterrence efforts—including an expansion of Title 42 and a transit ban—further restricting access to asylum in the US” in their statement here.
In the linked statement, the White House press release’s opening paragraph highlights an expansion of “legal pathways” and the presence of “new consequences” for those who do not qualify for asylum.
Part of those consequences includes a rise in the use of expedited removals, charged the coalition.
The White House’s press statement said it is established “the administration…is surging additional resources to the border and the region, scaling up its anti-smuggling operations, and expanding coordination and support for border cities and non-governmental organizations.”
In terms of numbers, the coalition said it “will extend the successful Venezuela parole process and expand it to nationals of Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba. Up to 30,000 individuals per month from these four countries, who have an eligible sponsor and pass vetting and background checks, can come to the United States for a period of two years and receive work authorization.”
Concerning its execution, after Title 42 ends, those seeking legal entrance will be able to make online appointments, added the coalition, noting about $23 million in “new assistance will help governments in the region respond to the increased humanitarian and protection needs of migrants, refugees and other vulnerable populations in their care.”
The Interfaith Immigration coalition acknowledged the importance of confirming access to asylum, but is concerned about the limited extent of the asylum and deterrence measures.
Through a religious lens, the IIC described how “the divine call to welcome and offer refuge to vulnerable people forced to leave their homes,” calling for “equitable access to asylum” and “an unequivocal commitment to end Title 42 expulsions and strengthen the US asylum system.”
American Friends Service Committee Director Pedro Rios said, “the Administration is expanding the use of Title 42, which is an archaic public health order that empowers Border Patrol agents to expel migrants without recognizing their right to seek asylum under U.S. and international law, and further expedite their removal.”
Executive Director Mary J. Novak of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice noted court involvement in keeping Title 42, but that “they do not require the Biden administration to expand it, as announced by DHS today.”
Advocacy Director Giulia McPherson of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA said the emergency circumstances in which humanitarian parole is meant to be used and how it is not a “permanent solution.”
Associate Director Sister Marie Lucey of the Franciscan Action Network argued, “Welcoming up to 20,000 refugees in FY 2023-2024, while positive, is too small a number.”
Echoing a similar sentiment to other comments, Director Susan Gunn of Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns promised, “as people of faith, we will continue crying out for an end to this policy and for a humane and robust system of protection for asylum seekers.”
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is composed of “over 55 national, faith-based organizations brought together across many theological traditions with a common call to seek just policies that lift up the God-given dignity of every individual.”