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UNHCR welcomes U.S. action on refugees

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UNHCR welcomes U.S. action on refugees

2 February 2021

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes renewed U.S. commitments announced today aimed at providing safety and solutions for people in need of protection from violence and persecution. This action reflects authentic humanitarian values and reaffirms U.S. leadership amid global levels of forced displacement unseen since World War II.

“We are heartened by the executive actions taken today by President Biden,” said Matthew Reynolds, UNHCR’s representative to the United States and the Caribbean.

“These steps confirm an American tradition of compassion for the vulnerable and are an important signal for all countries in formulating responses that are at once humane and secure,” Reynolds said.

President Biden announced plans to improve the U.S. asylum system and create a task force to locate and reunite families that had been separated along the southern U.S. border in recent years while trying to seek asylum in the United States.

Biden also pledged to work with other governments and organizations to build regional asylum capacity, strengthen refugee resettlement and address the root causes of violence and instability that force people to flee parts of the North of Central America.

“No one wants to be forced to leave their own homeland,” Reynolds said. “But it is clear that desperate people fleeing violence in the North of Central America are not deterred by harsh enforcement policies because life back home is simply untenable.”

“The steps announced by the United States confirm the importance of efficient, humane asylum systems and of coordinated action by all governments to create conditions that will prevent families from having to flee their homes in the first place,” Reynolds added.

UNHCR, which operates in 130 countries and has 70 years of operational experience around the world, reaffirms that it stands ready to support the government of the United States in ensuring that people in need of international protection – including refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons – are able to find it promptly and without obstruction.