FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2023
Biden’s Asylum Transit Ban Harms Vulnerable Asylum Seekers – Goes Into Effect as Title 42 Expires
Washington, D.C. – Today, we celebrate the expiration of Title 42, an obscure policy that was enacted by former President Trump and expanded by President Biden to justify the immoral denial of asylum to migrants. Over the last three years, the policy has caused immense harm and suffering to countless individuals seeking refuge in the United States. The expiration of this policy comes after years of organizing by im/migrant justice advocates who continue to fight for a humane, just, and orderly immigration system. Unfortunately, at the same time as the expiration of Title 42, the Biden administration announced its finalization of a rule that severely limits asylum. We condemn this and other legislative efforts to harm and dehumanize im/migrants, including efforts by Senators Tillis (R-NC) and Sinema (I-AZ) in the Senate to codify Title 42, the Secure the Border Act in the House, and the continued militarization of the border.
The NAKASEC network, composed of five affiliates in six states, responded:
“While the end of Title 42 is a long overdue and welcome change to U.S. immigration policy, we cannot forget that the Biden administration and Congress have pursued codifying aspects of Title 42 into law and have enacted other restrictions on asylum and im/migration,” said Esther Jeon, Network Organizing Director with NAKASEC. “We condemn these efforts and implore the Biden administration and Congress to implement policies that consider and prioritize human needs and rights above all else. We cannot ignore the reality that the United States continues to enact policies that destabilize and harm other countries and the world’s climate, thereby worsening conditions for communities across the world and creating the very humanitarian crises that necessitate the migration of entire communities.
As an organization that serves Korean and Asian communities in six states, we understand intimately the desire to seek safety and opportunity. It wasn’t long ago that Korea herself was under authoritarian rule and individuals and families’ lives were at risk. Yoon Han Bong, founder of Young Koreans United (YKU) which preceded NAKASEC, was one of the first Koreans to seek and be granted asylum in the United States due to his role in organizing for democracy. We remain in solidarity with Black and brown immigrants who are disproportionately harmed by the Biden administration’s new rule, and the continued efforts of some xenophobes in Congress.
The United States must lead the way in upholding and respecting human rights and dignities. Instead of limiting the right to seek asylum, the U.S. needs to improve the asylum process so that it respects people’s rights and dignity regardless of their country of origin or immigration status. This includes expanding possible pathways for migration, allowing people to access the regular asylum process, building infrastructure at U.S. ports of entry to support a processing system that is efficient and timely, coordinating with nonprofits and advocate groups on the ground to provide housing and other basic needs, and investing in community services across the country. Once residing in the United States, migrants’ rights need to be codified and legally protected.
Asylum is an internationally-recognized human right that must be respected and upheld. Lack of citizenship is used far too often as an excuse to dehumanize and degrade human lives, and we at NAKASEC deplore such intentional loopholes. Through legislation like Registry (H.R. 1511), we can build a future where every individual has the opportunity to live in safety and freedom – regardless of their immigration status.”
Media contact: Rachel Koelzer, firstname.lastname@example.org, (213) 703-0992
Correction: An earlier edition of this statement incorrectly stated that Yoon Han Bong was the first Korean political asylee and NAKASEC founder. Yoon Han Bong was one of the first Koreans granted asylum and founded Young Koreans United (YKU), the predecessor to NAKASEC.
Founded in 1994, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)’s mission is to organize Korean and Asian Americans to achieve social, economic, and racial justice. The NAKASEC Network is HANA Center (Illinois), Hamkae Center (fka NAKASEC VA) (Virginia), Woori Center (Pennsylvania), MinKwon Center for Community Action (New York & New Jersey) and Woori Juntos (Texas).