Immigrant and Refugee Coalition Responds to President Biden’s Shameful Border Security Negotiations

Latest news | Jan 29, 2024 10:01 pm

Chicago, IL – The We Are All America (WAAA) Campaign expresses deep outrage over President Biden’s statement from last Friday, where he pledged to immediately shut down the border if granted authority through the bipartisan Senate Border Security bill his administration has been negotiating.

President Biden has abandoned his campaign promise of fixing the immigration system, opting instead to pursue harmful anti-immigration policies reminiscent of the Trump-era’s Title 42. Far from securing our borders, these policies create chaos, danger, and overwhelm at ports of entry. President Biden’s willingness to revert back to a system that results in the mass expulsion of desperate refugees–throwing them back into the clutches of violence, persecution, and death–is alarming and a betrayal of the values we should champion as a nation: the pursuit of happiness, compassion, and justice.

“If President Biden signs this bill into law, it risks cementing his legacy as the president who dismantled our asylum system and delivered a harsh fate to refugees fleeing persecution,” said Fatima Saidi, Director of We Are All America. “We implore the administration to reconsider its stance and prioritize policies that align with the principles of justice, compassion, and respect for human rights. The proposed reforms, as they stand, threaten to perpetuate suffering and insecurity rather than offer genuine solutions to the complex challenges we face at our borders.” 

“America has a longstanding tradition of accepting refugees and immigrants,” affirmed Sara Louis-Ayo, Policy and Advocacy Organizer for the Louisiana Organization for Refugees and Immigrants. “This has made it a beacon of hope for many seeking safety and opportunity. Closing the border would not only go against these values, but it would also prevent refugees from contributing to our society and shaping our country. Mr. Biden, if the border is closed, not only will it put people in danger who are fleeing for safety, but it will also deny those who have lost everything an opportunity to make a positive impact in our society.”

Ruben Torres, Communications and Policy Lead at the Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, said: “For generations, our nation has been a beacon of hope for immigrants, offering safety and security to those fleeing persecution and hardship–we must continue to uphold these values. In Maine, where immigrant communities enrich our social fabric, we know firsthand the importance of welcoming and inclusive policies. The proposed policy changes, in their alleged current form, threaten to exacerbate insecurity and suffering rather than address the root causes of migration.”

“As someone who was forced to flee their home, I know firsthand that our asylum system is the only lifeline for many individuals,” shares Nejra Sumic, National Field Manager for We Are All America. “It is disappointing and disheartening to hear of this Administration’s suggested plans to suspend asylum. During a time when we are seeing the highest number of individuals who are forcibly displaced around the world, it is imperative that we advocate to keep our borders open. Shutting down borders only exacerbates the current situation, leading to the suffering and potential loss of life for thousands more individuals.”

“The United States remains a symbol of hope for refugees and immigrants escaping persecution and war-torn nations, seeking a chance for a safer and better life,” added Anahita Panahi, Deputy Director of Refugee Affairs at CHIRLA. “Unfortunately, President Biden’s suggested legislation to suspend asylum at the Southern borders contradicts the international human right to seek asylum, resulting in thousands being left stranded and susceptible to harm. Such a move is both immoral and inhumane–and we cannot allow it to happen.”

“President Biden’s statement is very concerning,” notes Ali Aljundi, Membership Engagement and Leadership Development Manager at Refugee Congress, “and neglects all his previous promises about protecting asylum seekers’ rights. He is effectively trading asylum protections in exchange for emergency authority at the borders and funding support for current conflicts. Asylum seekers should never be treated like a bargaining chip at the negotiation table. We strongly urge the President not to support such dangerous compromises that put people who are seeking safety in further danger.”


We Are All America works to uphold and strengthen our nation’s commitment to welcome and protect those seeking freedom, safety and refuge in the United States. We organize people across religious and cultural differences to build inclusive communities where we all belong.