Senate’s Anti-Immigrant Proposals Will Not Increase Safety at the Border or Across U.S.

Senators Must Reject Extreme Anti-Immigrant Proposals in Negotiations, Advocates at the Vera Institute of Justice say

February 5, 2024
Media Contact: Zameena Mejia,

New York – Last night, Senate negotiators released the “Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024.” The bill would impose arbitrary restrictions on the ability of people to claim asylum at the border and increase detention and surveillance. These enforcement-only policies will not address the challenges at the border but will harm families and communities. The Vera Institute of Justice joins a broad coalition urging Senate lawmakers to reject this deal, which uses immigration as a bargaining chip for other spending proposals. Immigration is too serious of an issue—with real implications for our country’s economy, families, and safety—to wield in this dangerous way.

Annie Chen, director of the Vera Institute of Justice’s Advancing Universal Representation initiative, shared the following statement:

“The Senate must reject this bill and instead insist upon immigration policy advancements that improve our ability to welcome people seeking safety with dignity and address challenges at the border. We must increase avenues for legal status, ensure asylum seekers have a chance to make their claim for safety, and expand universal representation for people at risk of deportation. These measures would promote order at the border and advance strength and stability for immigrants nationwide.

“Yet, the immigration provisions in this proposal are inhumane and ineffective. Undoubtedly, there is a need to address this nation’s outdated immigration system. President Biden claims he wants to fix it, yet this bill will increase suffering and disorder at the border without addressing the root causes of migration or improving fairness or due process in our system. The inclusion of small measures, such as aid to cities receiving newly arrived migrants, added processing capacity at the border, funding for legal services for unaccompanied children, and additional visas over five years do not outweigh the harms of increased enforcement, detention, and surveillance. We need another way. We call on the Biden administration and Congress to improve and modernize the immigration system by expanding pathways to permanent settlement in the United States, improving immigration case processing—including at the border — and investing in federally funded universal representation and social services to ensure that all children, families, and adults alike are treated humanely and can access due process.”


About the Vera Institute of Justice
The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and policy experts working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. For more information, visit

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