Testifying on the Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement “Presidential Power to Secure the Border”


March 7, 2024


March 7, 2024

Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, our Policy Director, testified before Congress during a House subcommittee hearing on the need for Congress to overhaul the asylum system.

Rather than focusing only on temporary stop-gap measures intended to deter people from coming to the border, Congress needs to address the longstanding shortfalls of the system and build durable solutions. Over the last 20 years, the United States has poured over $200 billion dollars into immigration enforcement, compared to under $9 billion for immigration courts. We need to fix this mismatch and build a modern humanitarian protection system that is fair, flexible, robust, and unlocks the powerful benefits brought by immigrants of all stripes.

The testimony explains: 

  • The last time Congress made any major changes to the asylum process was in 1996. Our country is overdue for new policies. 

  • The need for a faster way for immigrants to access work authorization so that they can join the workforce and support themselves quickly.   

  • The ways in which our 20th century asylum system acts as a barrier to migrant self-sufficiency.  

  • Mismatched spending priorities, which neglect immigration adjudication in favor of immigration enforcement, have created extensive backlogs.  

  • The limitations of presidential authority to block people from seeking asylum at the southern border. 


The testimony concludes that Congress has the power to change the situation at the border by updating our immigration laws and providing the necessary resources to fund a modern humanitarian protection system.

Watch Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council, testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement.


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