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NICE has submitted the following in response to the Biden Administration’s request for public comment on a proposed policy that would ban refugees from seeking asylum at our border.

The Biden Administration is currently accepting public comments until March 27th. We encourage you to let the administration know your thoughts on this proposed policy.

At NICE, we envision a world in which everyone has access to safety, peace, and the hope of a prosperous life. We are proud to be part of the welcoming legacy of the United States – one that was enshrined by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and codified as the US Refugee Act of 1980. We believe and know that seeking asylum is a fundamental human right – by law.

Our laws protect those who are fleeing persecution on “account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”, and has historically ensured that those who are seeking safety and asylum within or at the US border are not sent back to places where they face violence and retribution.

If passed, the proposed asylum ban would undermine legal protections for refugees at our borders, and send asylum seekers back to the dangerous situations from which they are fleeing. As a refugee-founded organization primarily serving people of color, we are also deeply concerned that this proposed ban would disproportionately affect Black, Brown, and Indigenous people forced to flee their homes and begin the dangerous journey to our country often on foot. Those who take this path are extremely vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, or personal injury along the way.

The proposed ban would also separate families, lead to significantly higher risk of human trafficking, and almost certainly lead to increased instances of exploitation and violent crime for the most vulnerable asylum seekers.

We believe that we have the capacity to welcome and to invest in expanding legal pathways for those seeking refuge in the US.