On February 23, 2023, the Biden Administration proposed a new rule that will establish a near-total ban on access to asylum at the U.S. southern border. The rule will be open for public comment for 30 days. We urge our network to please take action and submit a comment before March 27.

Why we are concerned:

As Franciscans we value Gospel principles of human dignity and human rights. All people seeking safety in the U.S. should be welcomed with dignity and have their rights respected. We welcome the statement of Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, who declared “I strongly oppose its implementation.”

This new rule will require that people:

  1. prove they applied for and were denied asylum in countries through which they traveled and
  2. have an appointment confirmed at a port of entry using the notoriously glitchy CBP One app.

This rule and other changes to the asylum system will have a discriminatory impact, favoring those with access to technology and wealthier immigrants who can access visas, have sponsors in the United States, and travel by plane. While announced as a two-year, temporary measure, this rule may cause the long-term erosion of the right to access asylum as we know it in the United States.

What is a Public Comment?

Typically, an action we might urge our network to take comes in the form of a quick signature on a petition or letter or possibly a pre-drafted email to your member of Congress. Public Comments are different and serve to communicate with the Biden Administration through an official process that, once submitted, becomes a public record of the Federal Register.

In order to be considered by the Department of Homeland Security, your comment must be unique and different from that of anyone else.

Your submission does not have to be lengthy. It can be as brief as a few sentences about why you personally oppose the ban. 

Things to consider:

To help in composing a unique message, take some time to think about your answers to these questions:

  • Do you have experience working/volunteering with refugees/asylum seekers/asylees? What impact did the work or people have on you?
  • Does anyone you know have a refugee background?
  • Do you have relatives or friends who came to this country seeking safety?
  • How do your faith values inform your positions on U.S. asylum policy?
  • Use the talking points in this article by FWD.us and this explainer blog from LIRS here.
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