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New Border Proposal is a Bad Deal for Children and Families

After weeks of closed door negotiations, a small group of Senators has released a bill that, in exchange for one-time foreign aid, would destroy long-established protections for people seeking refuge at our borders. The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) calls on Congress to reject this deal and to come together for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform that upholds our international obligations to asylum seekers and modernizes our deeply broken immigration system.

“It is neither normal nor morally defensible to trade internationally enshrined humanitarian protections for foreign aid,” said Neha Desai, Senior Director, Immigration. “Let us not forget how we got here. This political blackmail is part of a much larger strategy that has nothing to do with addressing our longstanding challenges with the immigration system, and everything to do with furthering an anti-immigrant agenda.”

While the bill includes some positive provisions – such as clarification that the bill does not nullify the Flores Settlement Agreement, expansion for funding for counsel for unaccompanied children younger than 14, and creation of pathways to permanent status for Afghan parolees – these limited protections for a few groups cannot justify the decimation of asylum protections for all.      

NCYL has long partnered with Senate and House offices to fight for reforms that prioritize the rights and best interests of immigrant children. The Children’s Safe Welcome Act (2022) is an example of this. The new border proposal undermines the rights of children and fuels yet another form of family separation - as families face the impossible choice of either waiting in perilous conditions or sending their children into the U.S. alone.

“We remain dedicated to working with any and all legislators who are committed to enacting much-needed reforms that are grounded in the safety and well-being of children and families,” said Melissa Adamson, Attorney, Immigration.