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Press Release // Immigration and Asylum

Faith-Based Groups Launch Comment Campaign to Oppose Biden Administration Asylum Ban

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LIRS Staff

March 16, 2023


Tim Young |
Melissa Stek |

Washington, D.C. – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and its partners in the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) have launched a new public comment campaign to mobilize opposition to the Biden administration’s proposed asylum ban.

The proposed rule, which closely mirrors a Trump administration ban, would severely limit asylum eligibility for those who did not first seek and were subsequently denied protection in a country through which they transited to reach the United States. Before the rule can be finalized, it is subject to a 30-day public comment period ending on Monday, March 27, 2023. By law, the Department of Homeland Security will then be required to consider substantive comments when finalizing the rule.

Since the proposed rule’s announcement, faith groups have called on the administration to reverse course and instead implement humane, practical solutions. As such, LIRS and the IIC have created a faith-oriented, values-based model comment form, which allows concerned citizens to personalize their opposition to the asylum ban and submit unique comments to the Federal Register. The campaign also includes resources that explain how the policy runs contrary to the United States’ moral and legal obligations to those seeking safety, and the harm it would cause to some of the world’s most vulnerable families desperate to access their legal right to seek asylum.

“For years, LIRS, faith organizations, and faith leaders in this coalition have stood in solidarity with our siblings in need of protection,” says Jill Marie Bussey, Director for Public Policy at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “Today we are not just standing. We are praying with our feet and putting our faith into action by encouraging people of good conscience to oppose the Biden administration’s misguided proposal. Voices from the faith community spoke with moral clarity when the prior administration attempted to ban asylum, and today we continue the fight. Centuries of scripture and decades of U.S. law are clear – we must welcome refugees and asylum seekers who are in dire need of safety.”

“In a disappointing series of events, the Biden administration is choosing to lean strongly into a heavy-handed enforcement approach at the border, including the recently proposed asylum ban and now possibly even family detention,” says Patrick Giuliani, Policy Analyst, Hope Border Institute and Co-Chair of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition Asylum Working Group. “We must oppose these policies, which will put people and families in danger, and work together for a humane, safe and effective system at the border to welcome asylum seekers and all vulnerable migrants.”

“The Holy Scripture we follow in the Christian Church reminds us that where two or more are gathered, so also is the Spirit of the Divine (Matthew 18:20),” says Katie Adams, Co-Chair of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition and Policy Advocate for the United Church of Christ. “To counter the administration’s proposed ban on asylum, we gather as people of faith to share our prayers and comments for those seeking asylum—reminding the administration that mercy and compassion are not words to be bandied about, but actions to be put into practice. Through this campaign, we urge the administration to turn back from their efforts to eliminate access to asylum and instead choose to offer welcome to those who come seeking safety.”

The organizers of the campaign strongly encourage faith-based organizations and individual people of faith across the United States to submit unique comments on the proposed asylum ban before the March 27 deadline.

Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is the largest faith-based national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to serving refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable immigrant communities in the United States. Through nearly 80 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is made up of over 55 national, faith-based organizations brought together across many theological traditions with a common call to seek just policies that lift up the God-given dignity of every individual. In partnership, we work to protect the rights, dignity, and safety of all refugees and migrants. Follow us on Twitter @interfaithimm

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