Restarting Orderly Process Critical to Managing Arrival of Asylum Seekers at Arizona Border

Feb 08, 2022
  • Description

U.S. ports of entry have remained closed to requests for asylum throughout the pandemic, forcing some families and adults to cross the border between ports of entry to seek refuge in the United States. Unscrupulous politicians have seized upon recently increasing arrivals in Arizona to stoke fear. On February 7, 2022, the Arizona Attorney General issued an opinion claiming that the state faces an "invasion" at the southern border which, under the U.S. Constitution, would authorize the governor to use defensive force.

Far from a threat, the majority of the people arriving near Yuma are people seeking protection from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela – countries from which many are fleeing repressive regimes and deepening political and humanitarian crises. Government data indicate that the Title 42 policy, which has been used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to block asylum at ports of entry, is driving the increase in border crossings. Prior to the restrictions at ports of entry, nearly all asylum seekers from Cuba and Haiti, for example, sought to enter the United States at ports of entry.

To address disorder at the southern border created by policies restricting access to asylum, the Biden administration must:

  • restart receiving requests for asylum, including at ports of entry—as required by U.S. law—and
  • stop expelling migrants and asylum seekers, which drive the rise in Border Patrol encounters with those who repeatedly attempt to cross the border in increasingly remote and dangerous routes.

This fact sheet presents these and other recomendations for restarting the process for asylum seekers at the Arizona border.