The International Institute of New England stands in opposition to the Biden administration’s announcement of a new asylum rule, which will limit life-saving opportunities for those seeking peace in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have finalized a rule that will significantly limit the ability of individuals to seek asylum at the United States border. Set to go into effect at the same time that Title 42 is lifted at 11:59 PM ET on Thursday, May 11, the asylum rule states that individuals who arrive at the southern border will be ineligible for asylum unless they 1) were granted prior permission to come to the U.S. via a DHS-approved parole process, 2) were able to make an appointment to present themselves at the border using the smartphone app CBP One, or 3) previously sought asylum in a country or countries through which they traveled and were denied.  

While providing legal pathways for individuals to seek asylum in the U.S. is critical, it cannot come at the price of limiting asylum. This rule is in complete opposition to the U.S.’s fundamental values of providing refuge and protection to those who are fleeing persecution, violence, or other threats to their lives. Additionally, it violates the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which allows people seeking protection to apply for asylum regardless of the manner of entry and does not require people to apply for asylum elsewhere first. “The asylum rule introduced by the Biden administration will cut off a lifeline for families who are fleeing life-threatening poverty and human rights abuses, and changes our understanding of what America stands for,” says IINE’s Senior Vice President Alexandra Weber.  

Since Title 42 was implemented in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been used as a reason to expel more than two million asylum seekers and migrants without allowing them the opportunity to apply for protection. With its expiration came an opportunity for the Biden administration to expand legal pathways for asylum seekers and reaffirm our country’s history as a beacon of liberty. Instead, the new rule more closely aligns with the anti-asylum approach of the Trump administration.  

“For over 100 years, the International Institute of New England has received and supported persecuted populations from around the world,” says Weber. “Today, we are the leading resettlement responder to Haitian asylum seekers coming by the thousands to Massachusetts. If we can welcome and support these individuals and families, we can continue to build the inclusive and prosperous society Massachusetts is known for. The refugee and immigrant families joining our communities are a critical part of America’s future.” 

The International Institute of New England always has and will continue to advocate for the rights and protection of all asylum seekers.