10 May 2023 - United States

Asylum Ban Undermines Rights and Safety of Children Fleeing Danger - Save the Children

Press release graphic

Washington, D.C., 10 May 2023 — The Biden administration’s ban on asylum, announced today, undermines the rights and safety of hundreds of thousands of migrant children and families, most of whom are fleeing unimaginable violence and disasters. Save the Children strongly opposes this ban, and has long urged the Biden administration not to enact such devastating restrictions. This ban will go into effect tomorrow, when Title 42 ends.

“In barring asylum, the United States government is subjecting asylum-seeking families and children to more—and unnecessary—danger and violence,” said Janti Soeripto, President and CEO of Save the Children US.

“The asylum ban will cause family separations and force children and families to seek refuge in countries in which asylum protections are lacking or non-existent. The United States must be committed to protecting human rights and providing a safe haven for those in need. As we’ve said time and time again, while we understand the complexities of rebuilding a broken immigration system, policies that put children and families in danger are not the solution—they’re unacceptable, morally and legally.”  

Victoria Ward, Regional Director for Save the Children in Latin America and the Caribbean, said:                                                                                                    

“While we welcome the potential for simpler asylum processing, some of the new measures in this policy could increase the dangers facing migrant children and their families. We also worry that more children will travel unaccompanied. Other potential threats to children and families under this new policy are an increased risk of deportation from countries throughout the region once they leave their nation of origin. It is also possible that across the Americas we will see increases and xenophobia and discrimination against migrants and higher rates of sexual exploitation, violence from gangs, and organized traffickers.”

The organization also notes that the new policy does not address children’s unique needs.

“We are concerned about how rapid expulsions and asylum applications could affect children and adolescents, especially those who are unaccompanied,” said Ward.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Save the Children is assessing the situation in the countries that will be the most impacted by the changes that these measures could cause. Guatemala and Colombia are a particular focus, as they will host regional centers announced by the US administration. One of the organization’s concerns is the lack of information about how children and families on the move to the US should proceed when the new policy goes into effect.

In the United States, Save the Children—together with its US political advocacy arm, 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. 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.  


For further enquiries please contact:

Claire Garmirian (cgarmirian@savechildren.org, +1 203-209-8545) and María Gabriela Alvarado (maria.alvarado@savethechildren.org, +507 6205-2366)   

We have US Policy and Advocacy Experts and Senior Leaders from Save the Children offices in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Panamá (regional office), and Venezuela available as spokespeople from Washington, D.C. in Spanish and English

Our media out of hours contact is media@savechildren.org/ +1 203-209-8545

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