Press Release

Welch Meets with Vermont Asylum Seeker Support Network

Apr 6, 2023

MONTPELIER – This week, Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) met with representatives from groups supporting asylum seekers across Vermont. The meeting, which included representatives from the Community Asylum Seekers Project of Vermont, the Chittenden Asylum Seekers Assistance Network, and Vermont Immigrant Assistance at Vermont Law and Graduate School, focused on the challenges asylum seekers face upon arrival in the United States and highlighted the work these Vermont-based organizations are doing to support new arrivals as they endeavor to access food assistance, housing, work opportunities, transportation, and legal services. 

“Vermonters have a proud tradition of welcoming asylum seekers and the folks I met with are doing truly incredible work with so few resources,” said Sen. Welch. “It was an honor to thank this impressive group of folks who are working day-in and day-out to assist asylum seekers and hear the both the stories of those who they are helping and their recommendations for improving the asylum process. As the number of asylum seekers in our state rises, I will continue to stand up for asylum seekers and the volunteer network they rely on.”  

Recently, there has been a significant increase in the number of migrants—including asylum seekers—crossing the border from Canada into Vermont through the Swanton sector at the northern border. The average wait times for asylum court dates is nearly four and a half years.  

In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Sen. Welch questioned Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on what the department was doing to address the surge of migrants and asylum seekers at the northern border.   

Senator Welch was joined by individuals representing the Community Asylum Seekers Project of Vermont; Chittenden Asylum Seekers Assistance Network; Central Vermont Refugee Action Network; Northeast Kingdom Asylum Seekers Assistance Network; Randolph Area Asylum Seekers Support; Bridge to Rutland; Support and Helping Asylum Seekers and Refugees, of Norwich; the State Refugee Office, Vermont Immigrant Assistance, Vermont Law School; Vermont Poverty Law Fellow, South Royalton; and the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV).