News » CGRS Decries Anti-Asylum Legislative Proposals by Hate Groups

CGRS Decries Anti-Asylum Legislative Proposals by Hate Groups

Help Defend Asylum

CGRS relies on the generous support of people like you to sustain our advocacy defending the human rights of refugees. Make a gift today!


May 16, 2022

Last week a coalition of anti-immigrant organizations sent a letter to congressional leaders, urging them to enact draconian legislative proposals that would exclude and endanger people seeking asylum. The letter was authored by groups with explicit white nationalist agendas, including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group, as well as former Trump officials who implemented some of the previous administration’s most egregious policies. The letter reveals the depth of the anti-immigrant movement’s hatred towards Black, brown, and indigenous women, LGBTQ+ people, and others seeking safety.

“The policies advocated by these groups are a blatant attempt to nullify the 1980 Refugee Act and violate U.S. treaty obligations to protect those fleeing persecution,” Karen Musalo, Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS), said today. “The United States and countries around the world committed to protecting refugees in the aftermath of World War II and the failure to protect those fleeing the Holocaust. As ongoing humanitarian crises from Haiti to Ukraine demonstrate, the need to protect those fleeing persecution is no less today than it was in the past. This is no time for the United States to abandon its promise to protect the persecuted. It is alarming that members of Congress are seriously considering such extreme proposals. At this decisive moment, we urge members of Congress to stand strong in their values, reject legislation that codifies hate, and instead join hands with communities at the border and throughout the country who stand ready to welcome people seeking safety with dignity and fairness.”

At the top of the groups’ anti-immigrant wish list is the codification of the deadly Title 42 policy, which for two years has allowed border agents to override the 1980 Refugee Act and summarily expel people seeking asylum under the false pretext of the pandemic. The CDC recently decided to terminate Title 42, recognizing what public health experts have known since its inception: The policy has zero basis in public health. Congress may soon take up legislation that would keep Title 42 in place indefinitely, until the COVID-19 emergency public health declaration is lifted. Immigrant rights advocates and public health practitioners alike have urged members of Congress to oppose any such proposal, which would keep asylum seekers in harm’s way and jeopardize vital COVID-19 funding. The hate groups’ letter is a reminder that preserving Title 42 is a white nationalist objective that should be rejected by any lawmaker who is committed to immigrant rights and racial justice.

Among other disturbing proposals, the groups’ letter suggests that Congress mandate implementation of the Remain in Mexico policy, which has exposed asylum seekers to life-threatening violence, pass legislation making certain categories of refugees ineligible for asylum, and force asylum seekers, including families and children, to remain locked up in immigration jails. The groups also urge Congress to enact into law Matter of A-B-, the misogynistic Trump-era ruling that attempted to eliminate asylum for survivors of gender- and gang-related violence. Matter of A-B- was overturned by Attorney General Garland in 2021 after years of hard-fought litigation and advocacy by CGRS and our partners. Codifying the decision would be tantamount to ruling that women’s rights are not human rights, and would abandon victims of gang violence to torture, rape, or death. Congress must reject these extremist proposals, and all policies that repudiate this country’s commitment to protect those fleeing persecution.