BNHR Statement on the Biden Administration’s Continuation of Trump-Era Policies & Rhetoric Criminalizing Immigrants & Asylum Seekers

EL PASO – In a White House daily briefing today, Press Secretary Jen Psaki further walked back the Biden administration’s commitment to immediately terminate cruel and unjust policies implemented during the Trump presidency that effectively blocked entry to those seeking asylum at the U.S. borders. “Now is not the time to come,” stated Psaki in the briefing, “and the vast majority of people will be turned away.” The Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) is deeply disappointed in the Biden administration’s decision to continue the practice of denying people their right to seek asylum and the ongoing rhetoric of a ‘border crisis’ that serves to further criminalize immigrants.

The following is a statement from Fernando García, executive director of BNHR:

“Migrating to the United States to flee persecution and crisis is not a decision that can be postponed until it is convenient for the White House. Additionally, seeking asylum is a legal right, and U.S. law states that asylum seekers may remain in the U.S. while their case is pending.

While the Biden administration is using the pandemic as a justification for continuing to deny people their rights, by further postponing the termination of Trump-era policies, the new administration is also contributing to the false narrative that characterizes migrants as a ‘problem’ that need to be fixed, and a ‘threat’ to our national security.

This narrative continues to be propagated by the media, as seen in a recent piece from The New York Times, which frames migrants seeking asylum as “President Biden’s first immigration crisis”, when in fact, Biden’s first immigration crisis was the broken and dismantled immigration system he inherited on Day One.

This idea of an ‘immigration crisis’ caused by an influx of migrants to our southern border is not only false but also a testament to the ugly legacy of the Trump administration, which has fundamentally warped our concept of normality when it comes to migration and immigration policy.

The truth is, border communities are, in fact, facing many crises: the crisis of COVID-19; the crisis of police brutality; the crisis of family separation and child detention; and the crisis of white supremacy and xenophobia, among others. Border communities have endured the most harmful effects of the Trump administration’s cruelest policies against immigrants, and as such, we know that the answer to solving these crises is not turning away people seeking safe haven at our borders or furthering criminalizing immigrant communities and new arrivals.
immigration reform
Migration is not the problem. Immigrants are not the problem. Our broken immigration system is. We call on the Biden administration to fulfill the promises they made and address the root problems by fixing our broken immigration system and passing comprehensive and inclusive immigration reform. This includes immediately ending cruel Trump-era immigration policies, including the Migrant Protection Protocols, and building the necessary infrastructure to process asylum claims, address the needs of families seeking safe haven at our borders, and help them fully integrate into our communities. This requires a coordinated response at the local, state, and federal levels in the form of welcoming centers, where new immigrants will be assisted with core services such as housing, travel to reunite with their families, and health care, including COVID-19 testing and vaccination.

Additionally, the Biden administration must act to demilitarize the U.S.-Mexico border, end family separation and detention, and instead focus on fortifying and creating pathways to lawful status for all immigrants, including the more than 11 million undocumented people who call our country home.

Do not squander this opportunity to make bold and transformative changes that will benefit all.”


The Border Network for Human Rights, founded in 1998, is one of the leading human rights advocacy and immigration reform organization in the U.S. BNHR has over 7,000 members in West Texas and Southern New Mexico. To learn more about BNHR, please visit


Alia El-Assar | (202) 938-6511 |

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