The U.S. Must Honor its Obligations to Protect Refugees Seeking Protection from Violence and Abuse 


May 12, 2023

Editor’s note: The following statement was released Friday, May 12, by Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs:

“It is the law in the United States to provide opportunities for people fleeing from desperate and violent conditions to seek asylum. U.S. law is grounded in international law and the basic moral values of human rights.  The Coalition on Human Needs strongly opposes all efforts to deny these basic rights to asylum-seekers.  

“It is well within our capacity to expand access to humane refugee hosting in other countries and parole and other pathways to safe migration in this country, with protections and assistance to migrant families with children and other refugees. There are many humane and tested policies and procedures consistent with law and moral principles. Banning asylum is simply wrong, but it is worse than that.  Title 42’s wrongful application to migrants increased the dangers to people trying to flee to safety; it has resulted in more unsafe attempts to enter this country, and subjected poor and vulnerable families to serious dangers in refugee camps outside the U.S. Restrictions imposed have contributed directly to increased numbers of children crossing our border alone, vulnerable to being exploited in illegal child labor. It is a good thing that Title 42’s application at the border has expired.  The human service providers, faith, labor, civil rights and other groups that are members of the Coalition on Human Needs oppose reimposing its restrictions, whether through administrative actions, or the counterproductive and inhumane provisions in the House-passed H.R. 2 and in the recently introduced S. 1473. 

“We strongly urge senators to reject both of these bills or others that would similarly leave asylum-seekers with no regular safe recourse.  These bills add fuel to anti-immigrant sentiments and need to be rejected in favor of welcoming people at the border with dignity and respect. When our nation has welcomed people seeking refuge, we benefited.  When we turn our backs on our moral and legal obligations, we limit our growth, our sense of possibility, and our standing in the world. Please reject bills like H.R. 2 and S. 1473 that would effectively end the right to asylum at our southern border.” 

The Coalition on Human Needs is an alliance of national organizations representing people of faith, human service providers, labor, civil rights and other policy experts and advocates concerned with improving economic security, opportunity and justice for people with low incomes, reducing racial, ethnic, and gender disparities, and better meeting the needs of all age groups and people with disabilities.