The BBA is deeply troubled by the enactment of the “Circumvention of Lawful Pathways” rule which bans individuals who do not meet specific criteria from seeking asylum at the U.S. Southern Border. This Biden Administration rule went into effect at midnight on May 11, 2023, with the expiration of Title 42 – the COVID-19 public health measure allowing the government to halt entry of migrants at the Southern border since March 2020.
The BBA submitted comments in opposition to the new rule when it was proposed in March, as it contravenes established law, which dictates that each and every individual entering the U.S. should have meaningful access to asylum and protection against persecution whether or not at a designated port of arrival. “We have the opportunity, and the obligation—as an association, a city, a state, and a country as a whole—to do the right thing and continue to fight for those who too often have no voice with which to fight themselves,” President Chinh Pham reiterated in a recent edition of the Boston Bar Journal speaking on our obligations to the immigrant community.
Under this rule, individuals from countries other than Mexico arriving at the Southern and coastal borders between May 11, 2023, and May 11, 2025, will be barred from seeking asylum unless they applied for asylum and were denied in a third country on their way to the United States. The rule includes a stringent rebuttable presumption and narrow list of exceptions that will be all but impossible for pro se litigants to navigate.
As stated in our initial comments, the rule also raises significant due process concerns “by forcing individuals to await final determination in other countries where they are likely to face even more dangerous situations, adding to the trauma of their journeys while failing to resolve the instability and crisis at the Southern border.” The BBA’s 2018 Immigration Principles affirm our steadfast commitment to access to justice and due process for all individuals regardless of immigration status – which many will be denied as a result of this policy.
The BBA will continue to follow this issue and speak out against policies that undermine our principles and access to justice for all.