Save the Children CEO: The U.S. Has a Legal and Moral Duty to Protect Asylum-Seeking Kids and Families

Washington, D.C. (April 28, 2023) – In response to the Biden administration's announcement for a coordinated regional approach to migration management leading up to Title 42 ending on May 11, Save the Children reaffirms its unwavering commitment to asylum-seeking children and families. While the child rights organization commends various commitments made, it is concerned that not all aspects of the plan protect children and families as it should.

Save the Children supports the announcement of increased in-country processing through the Regional Processing Centers in Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, and is encouraged by the commitment to expand refugee resettlement and family reunification parole programs, which Save the Children has long advocated for. Such commitments are a welcome step in the right direction to realizing a stronger immigration system but will require robust investment and oversight to achieve success. 

Save the Children also appreciated that Secretary Mayorkas, Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, headed the calls of Save the Children and its partners by specifically noting that the administration has no plans to detain families.

“While Save the Children commends the Biden administration for committing to increase various protections for asylum-seeking children and families, these protections aren’t nearly enough – and, distressingly, come at the expense of others, potentially putting children into harm’s way,” said Janti Soeripto, President and CEO of Save the Children U.S.

The announcement also unveiled plans to increasingly rely on expedited removals, forcing migrants to conduct Credible Fear Interviews while in government detention with limited access to counsel. When families face expedited removal procedures it’s often the children who suffer through family separation or emotional trauma.

Also as part of yesterday’s announcement, Secretary Mayorkas gave confirmation that the U.S. would soon implement an asylum ban, turning away migrants from seeking their legal right to safety based on the manner of their journey and arrival to the U.S.

“We strongly oppose the decision to enact a ban on asylum. Such action would be reprehensible, endangering families and children seeking safety, and risking children being separated from their families and forced to wait in dangerous conditions,” continued Soeripto. “The U.S. has a legal and moral duty to protect children and families fleeing danger, violence and persecution. The Biden administration must rethink this decision – children’s wellbeing is at stake.”

Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network will continue to advocate on behalf of children and families to ensure their rights are upheld, and that they are treated legally and humanely, with dignity and respect. And, in partnership with a network of shelters and social service agencies across the length of the U.S.-southern border, Save the Children stands ready to welcome migrants and support any increased humanitarian needs that may arise.

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding more than 100 years ago, we've been advocating for the rights of children worldwide. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming the future we share. Our results, financial statements and charity ratings reaffirm that Save the Children is a charity you can trust. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


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