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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1573 - Access to Counsel Act of 2021

April 20, 2021

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

(House Rules)
(Rep. Jayapal, D-WA, and 49 cosponsors)

The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 1573, the Access to Counsel Act of 2021. This Act would ensure that U.S. citizens, green card holders, and other individuals with documentation authorizing their admission or parole into our country are able to consult with an attorney to help them understand their rights when going through the inspection process at borders and ports-of-entry.

The legislation was introduced after the previous Administration issued the discriminatory Muslim ban, resulting in hundreds of people being detained in airports without the opportunity to call or consult with an attorney, advocate, or even a relative or family member. The bill would affirm that individuals detained by immigration officials in airports, at the border, and under other specific circumstances have the right to access legal advice, either in person or remotely.

The Access to Counsel Act will ensure that individuals with valid travel documents who present themselves at the border or airports can communicate with an attorney or advocate. The Administration recognizes the importance of legitimate travel and trade through the Nation's ports of entry, and looks forward to working with the Congress to ensure that this bill can be operationalized.

Beyond the passage of H.R. 1573, the Administration also urges the Congress to reform other aspects of our immigration system by passing the U.S. Citizenship Act, which would provide a path to citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants, establish a new system to responsibly manage and secure our border, bring long overdue visa reforms to keep families together and grow our economy, and address the root causes of instability and unsafe conditions causing migration from Central America.

Joseph R. Biden, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1573 - Access to Counsel Act of 2021 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/350257