November 27, 2018

Statement of Bob Carlson, ABA president Re: Improving the U.S. immigration system

WASHINGTON, Nov. 27, 2018 —  As tensions escalate on the Mexican border, the American Bar Association urges Congress and the White House to craft a comprehensive, peaceful resolution to our nation’s immigration challenges and to devote more resources to alleviate the backlog of asylum claims on the border and in United States’ immigration courts.

We call on our country’s leaders to embrace the United States’ historic foundation as a safe haven for immigrants and refugees, and to demonstrate compassion for asylum seekers, many of whom are fleeing unacceptable levels of violence in their home countries to find safety in our great nation. Over many years, the United States has created a comprehensive process to evaluate asylum claims effectively. We have rejected individuals who pose a threat and granted safe haven to those who meet our legally authorized standards.

Our immigration adjudication system is underfunded and undermanned.  We need additional judges and support staff to eliminate the backlog of more than 700,000 cases in U.S. immigration courts. Nothing should be done to impede access to counsel or diminish due process of law for people seeking asylum.

Our nation’s immigration challenges cannot be resolved by piecemeal actions or violence. Congress must adopt comprehensive laws that amply address immigration policy, including asylum, detention, and the future of undocumented young people who were brought to this country by their parents.

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