President Biden’s Tough on Immigration Policy Plans Disregard Electorate’s Vision for Workable, Dignifying Immigration System

Latest news | Feb 23, 2024 01:02 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Biden administration is reportedly considering an executive action to restrict access to asylum and expedite the removal of recent arrivals, mirroring the measures proposed in the national security supplemental spending bill that failed to pass the Senate. The measures would impede the due process rights of asylum seekers and violate the legal obligations of the United States to provide safety for migrants seeking protection.

As a coalition of advocates for immigrant and refugee rights, the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) and the We Are All America (WAAA) Campaign express our deep concern about the potential impact of this executive order on border communities and vulnerable individuals seeking refuge in the United States. We are also deeply concerned by this posture and rhetoric from the Biden administration in this consequential election year and as immigration rises to the electorate’s top policy concern.  

While former President Trump threatens, if re-elected, to implement even more extreme and devastating policies on immigration than he enacted in his first term, President Biden’s approval rating on his handling of immigration and among voters of color has plummeted as he embraces a “tough” on immigration posture and policy agenda that flies in the face of voters’ vision for a fair and workable immigration system. 

According to recent Pew Research polling, a majority of Americans believe that increasing the number of immigration judges and creating more legal immigration pathways would improve the country’s current immigration challenges. Recent research makes it abundantly clear that asylum-seekers, former refugees, and other immigrants are making critical contributions to the economy and the social fabric of their communities that the nation needs and policymakers must embrace for the good of the nation.

Said Nicole Melaku, Executive Director of NPNA, “Just four short years ago, President elect- Biden pledged that he would restore our nation to one of welcome and opportunity and has made many attempts to work bi-cameraly to address our outdated and broken immigration system. We welcomed President Biden’s efforts over the last 3.5 years to undo many of the harms of the previous administration, so it is incomprehensible that he now moves to upend the asylum system once again through Trump-like executive action. Closing the border and reverting to crisis and fear-based policymaking is a reactionary step in the wrong direction. It would signal that Congress is off the hook from needing to proactively address immigration through a legislative process that both protects vulnerable people and demonstrates our leadership in proposing a 21st century solution to our nation’s immigration challenges and needs. We urge President Biden to return to his early promises and work with Congress to enact the dignifying solutions the American people are asking for.” 

Said Fatima Saidi, National Campaign Director for WAAA, “As a former asylum seeker myself, I am deeply disturbed by the alarming reports suggesting that the Biden administration is considering measures that could severely limit asylum claims, thereby endangering the lives of asylum-seeking individuals and families. This potential regression towards policies reminiscent of those embraced by the previous administration is profoundly concerning and utterly alarming. It is disheartening and morally reprehensible to witness the Biden-Harris administration exploiting the lives of vulnerable individuals and families fleeing violence and persecution as mere political pawns in this election year – particularly as their primary voting base is calling for pro-immigrant solutions.”

NPNA and WAAA join American voters in calling for an immigration system that works for – not against – individuals and families. We expect policymakers to not only address challenges at the border, but to repair the nation’s long-broken immigration system in ways that support all families, bolster economic growth, and prioritize the safety of vulnerable communities. Any deviation from this vision is an affront to American values and a betrayal to the desires of the majority of the American electorate.


The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is a multi-ethnic, multiracial coalition of 66 of the nation’s largest immigrant and refugee rights organizations with reach across over 40 states. Together with our members, we advance immigrant and refugee equity and inclusion, build and expand immigration legal services and integration programming capacity, and drive campaigns that strengthen democracy through increased civic participation. See our website for more information at

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. See our website for more information at