Letter, Opinion

Expansion of border policy increases risk for asylum seekers

Dear Editor,

For months, the Biden Administration has committed to ending Title 42, a Trump-era border policy that has deported tens of thousands of asylum-seekers. Last week, instead of fulfilling those promises, the administration announced that it would be expanding Title 42 to prevent Venezuelans who seek asylum from gaining access to safety. Seeking asylum is a human right enshrined in U.S. and international law, and this is a violation of that right. In Vermont and western New Hampshire, eight community groups work together to support asylum seekers from all over the world. We have seen asylum seekers forced into much more dangerous border crossings because of Title 42. At the same time as it expands Title 42 to block Venezuelan immigration, the Biden Administration is establishing a small humanitarian parole program for a select number of Venezuelans with contacts in the U.S. who can support them for two years. Connections to financial support should never be a prerequisite for saving one’s own life, and this policy will deepen the inequities already suffered by marginalized groups of asylum seekers. Our community-based asylum support system is doing everything we can to be ready and willing to welcome asylum-seekers from any country, any race, who are fleeing for their lives. It is time for the Biden Administration to move away from the door and uphold its legal and moral obligations to asylum seekers. We encourage readers to call the White House comment line at 202-456-6213, and demand an end to Title 42.

Community Asylum Seekers Project (Brattleboro); Bridge to Rutland (Rutland); Chittenden Asylum Seekers Assistance Network (Burlington); Randolph Area Asylum Seeker Support (Randolph); Project Home (Keene, New Hampshire); Supporting and Helping Asylees & Refugees (Norwich); Central Vermont Refugee Action Network (Montpelier); Northeast Kingdom Asylum Seekers Assistance Network (St. Johnsbury).

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