February 5, 2024

On Sunday night, Senate negotiators released the text of the “Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024,” legislation intended to address defense funding and border security concerns.  Unfortunately, this funding bill includes numerous immigration policy provisions that harm survivors fleeing gender-based violence and puts many others at increased risk of harm. 

As individuals seeking protection arrive at the US Southern border and other ports of entry, we know that survivors from Asia, the Pacific, and the Middle East fleeing gender-based violence and harm are included among them. This bill’s unprecedented investment in detention and removal would not only deter these survivors from seeking asylum or reporting their experiences, but runs the risk of retraumatizing survivors by pushing them back into dangerous and unsafe conditions.

The bill also raises the credible fear screening standard for asylum, eliminates certain review processes, and requires rapid review of asylum cases without resources for meaningful examination. These provisions would virtually ensure that those who do try to seek asylum, especially survivors who’ve been traumatized, or those unfamiliar with US asylum law,  would face nearly insurmountable odds at obtaining protection.

While the bill includes some positive elements that support survivors and protect against abuse, such as a pathway to legal status for Afghans who have fled their country, increases in family and employment visas, faster processing for employment authorization for certain individuals, and provisions protecting children of high-skill temporary workers from aging out of the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents, many of its provisions would increase the risk of trauma and endangerment for survivors.

API-GBV Director of Policy stated, “Asylum provides critical protection for survivors fleeing gender-based violence. Unfortunately, this legislation increases the barriers for survivors seeking that protection and will likely lead to increased trauma and victimization for those arriving in the United States. Although we welcome funding for resettlement, protections for Afghan arrivals, and increases in family and employment visas, this bill risks exacerbating the already difficult circumstances faced by vulnerable individuals seeking safety and refuge.  As policymakers deliberate on immigration reform, we urge them to reject this bill and prioritize compassionate and comprehensive policies that recognize the needs of survivors of gender-based violence, including those from Asia, the Pacific, and the Middle East seeking safety.” 

For additional information, please contact API-GBV’s Director of Policy, Grace Huang, at ghuang[at]api-gbv.org or (206)-420-7369.


Email your Senator to demand they reject these efforts here. 

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Attend ACLU’s Press Conference and Lobby Day  at 11am ET tomorrow, Tuesday, February 6 at Methodist Building (100 Maryland Ave NE, Washington, DC)