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