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Photo Credit: Alfredo Estrella, AFP

Nation's Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Says Asylum Seekers Have the Right to Due Process and Not Being Treated Like Criminals

May 11, 2023
For more information, contact David Cruz at (818) 689-9991

El Paso, TX - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has issued one of its most urgent calls for critical emergency federal assistance in its 94-year history. The plea is on behalf of tens of thousands of migrants lawfully seeking the chance to apply for asylum in the United States and be allowed to stay while the courts hear their case. The unprecedented call from LULAC is for funding relief to community-based organizations and communities at the epicenter of the looming refugee crisis at the US-Mexico border. LULAC is taking this historic action on the eve of the Biden Administration lifting Title 42 enforcement on Friday, May 12. Tens of thousands of men, women, and children massed along the US-Mexico border for weeks or months have desperately waited to see this moment.

"LULAC is here to warn that we are at a critical tipping point, and the situation can only become more dire if the Administration and Congress do not act immediately," says Domingo Garcia, LULAC national president. "They must authorize significant federal aid to the impacted border regions specifically for desperately needed resources. These communities are being overwhelmed and urgently need government support to provide shelter, clothing, food, and medicine for arriving asylum seekers. These refugees are on legal immigration parole while the courts evaluate their applications. Those whose asylum petition the courts affirm will be allowed to stay; those who do not meet the test, judges will order returned to their country of origin. In the meantime, the need is massive and on a scale not seen before while reports are that thousands more refugees are headed here," says Garcia.

Photo Credit: Mike Blake, Reuters

LULAC supports comprehensive immigration reform to overhaul an outdated system that is not working for applicants fleeing violence and oppression or for the U.S. that can benefit from their contributions. People who apply to migrate to the United States are often forced to wait for years, while others are deemed permanently ineligible because of previous non-violent infractions. The result is a severe increase in human trafficking, leading to crimes committed against innocent migrant victims and even their deaths.

"Comprehensive immigration reform needs a fresh perspective," says Ray Mancera, LULAC national parliamentarian and longtime LULAC member in his hometown of El Paso. "We must look at arriving refugees who qualify for asylum as an opportunity that benefits them and the United States economy. Immigrants have historically been the lifeblood that replenishes our ranks of essential workers in jobs Americans do not want to do,” adds Mancera.

Photo Credit: Justin Hamel, The New York Times

LULAC urges the Biden Administration and the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) to work towards a bi-national framework that includes setting up processing centers in Mexico like those in Colombia and Nicaragua to keep migrants making the long, difficult, and dangerous journey north to the United States.

Lydia Guzman, LULAC National Immigration Chair, announced that in a few days, LULAC will hold the first border summit on refugee and immigration policies with leaders gathered in Laredo, Texas. "No single step and no single person can provide the total answer to a crisis of this magnitude that has developed over decades of inaction," she said. "LULAC is taking the lead as it always has because we must be solutions-focused instead of casting aspersions and treating the masses of humanity on the other side of our border as a threat being met with weapons and soldiers," says Guzman.

The LULAC Americas Plan:

  • The League of United Latin American Citizens urges President Biden to exercise presidential privilege to implement emergency measures to mitigate the humanitarian crisis at the border.
  • LULAC asks the Administration to expand the list of countries with TPS protection status to include those from which the asylees are fleeing to come to the United States.
  • Provide more funding to border communities (NGOs, shelters, churches, local governments) to better prepare for the influx – rather than sending National Guard troops.
  • Adequately support DHS agencies that perform intake duties and adjudicate asylum cases – rather than sending national guard troops.

President Garcia concludes, "LULAC rejects the fearmongering and scapegoating used by politicians for pure campaigning and political posturing. Using terms like invasion, murderers, and cartels during a humanitarian crisis is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. LULAC is focused on creating positive solutions. We urge politicians on both sides to join the conversation to be a part of the solution. Our failure to act on immigration reform will only increase unlawful migration by blocking lawful pathways to protection. Migrants will be forced to take dangerous journeys and fall prey to human traffickers that do not care about their victims' lives. We must all be a part of the solution, not an accomplice to unscrupulous human smugglers."




The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation's largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC's programs, services, and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting the critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/