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Ranking Member Jayapal Expresses Profound Disappointment Over Border Executive Action

WASHINGTON — Today Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ranking Member of the Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement Subcommittee, issued the following statement in response to the Biden Administration’s executive action on the border:

“Seeking asylum is legal under this country’s immigration laws and international treaty obligations. It is extremely disappointing to see the Biden administration severely restricting access to asylum using section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This attempt to shut down the border to asylum seekers uses the same section of U.S. immigration laws that convicted felon Donald Trump used to implement the Muslim Ban and in attempts to cut off all access to asylum. While there are some differences from Trump’s actions, the reality is that this utilizes the same failed enforcement-only approach, penalizes asylum seekers, and furthers a false narrative that these actions will ‘fix’ the border. 

“The reality is that the only thing that will ‘fix’ the border is to modernize a desperately outdated immigration system that has reduced legal pathways and resources to process immigrants to intolerable levels. Senate Republicans have used the power of the Jim Crow legacy filibuster to block any bipartisan compromise legislation passed in the House, such as the Farm Workforce Modernization Act or the Dream and Promise Act, from passing the Senate and being signed into law. Even a bipartisan bill crafted by the second most conservative Republican in the Senate was unable to be passed because Donald Trump and MAGA extremists want to keep immigrants as political pawns to be attacked as an election-year strategy.  

“The American people want and deserve an orderly immigration system that is humane and focuses on real solutions rather than harsh enforcement. Our country desperately needs reforms to the legal immigration system that bring the United States into the 21st century, including ensuring families are reunited, that migrants have the opportunity to be quickly processed and given work permits that help address our own economic needs and that asylum claims are adjudicated in a fair and efficient manner.   

“An enforcement-only approach has never worked. It is deeply disappointing that the Biden Administration has given in to this same approach. The truth is that what happens at the border is deeply connected to the effectiveness of the legal immigration system.  Encounters at the border rise when legal pathways are dysfunctional or unworkable. When President Trump cut off refugee pathways for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we started seeing Congolese people at the border for the first time. And the inverse is also true, when we increase legal pathways, people follow those pathways rather than showing up at the border.

“We should be looking to manage the border, expand lawful pathways, provide a roadmap to citizenship and celebrate the contributions of immigrants by prioritizing a fair, orderly, and humane system. Today’s actions are a dangerous step in the wrong direction.”