From the Office of Government Relations and Episcopal Migration Ministries
On May 11, 2023, the public health order implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic known as Title 42 ended. For three years, this order ran counter to domestic and international law by preventing the entry of migrants and facilitating millions of quick expulsions at our border, including those seeking protection from persecution.
What this means for vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers
Concerned about an increase in numbers of migrants arriving at the border and the capacity to process migrants under the normal immigration law known as Title 8, the Biden administration has put into place a number of new policies, some of which will restrict access to asylum for vulnerable migrants in need of protection.
- One policy is the new asylum rule, Circumvention of Legal Pathways, which went into effect on May 11th. This rule places restrictions on seeking asylum – requiring that those seeking asylum have access to and use a smartphone application called CBP One, and denies the opportunity to seek asylum in the U.S to those who have failed to seek asylum in a third country on their way to the United States. Read The Episcopal Church’s comment opposing this rule.
- The Biden administration has also announced a number of new policies to expand other pathways to entry such as plans to increase refugee admissions from Latin America and humanitarian parole for citizens of certain countries. While humanitarian parole is beneficial, these pathways are only available to those who know or can secure a sponsor in the United States – leaving the most vulnerable of individuals who have no connections in the U.S. without a viable pathway to safety.
The Episcopal Church remains concerned that these and other policies will lead to increased detention, surveillance, deportations, and restrictions on the right to seek asylum. Read our statement on Biden administration policy.
Congressional Response and Advocacy
The House recently passed H.R. 2, which would restrict asylum and increase detention among other harmful policies. The Senate has proposed a bipartisan bill to expel migrants from the United States for a two-year period similar to what was allowed under Title 42, subjecting asylum seekers to further harm. Call your members of Congress today to let them know you oppose these bills and to support policies that protect asylum and provide adequate resources for a humane reception of migrants.
Find your members of Congress (2 senators, 1 representative); Capitol Switchboard: +1 202-224-3121
Sample Call Script: “My name is [First, Last] and I live in [City, State]. I’m calling to express my concern about the situation of asylum seekers at our southern border. I understand the need to keep our border safe, but policies like the new asylum rule from the Biden administration and bills like H.R. 2 go against our legal and moral obligations as country. This issue is important to me as a person of faith, and I encourage [Senator/Representative Last Name] to work with support policies that protect access to asylum and provide resources to organizations that are helping welcome migrants.”
Other ways to get involved
Nonprofits and faith communities, including Episcopal churches, are on the front lines of migrant reception and care. We invite you to learn about ways you can support those serving migrants along the border, as well as how you can get involved in ministries of sponsorship in your own community.
- The Episcopal Dioceses of West Texas, Arizona, Rio Grande, and San Diego engage in ecumenical, interfaith, and cross-border partnerships to serve vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers. We encourage you to learn more about their work and how you can support their ministries.
- Refugees, asylum seekers, and other humanitarian immigrants often need sponsors to welcome and support them before and after their arrival in the United States. Learn more about Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Ways to Welcome sponsorship opportunities.