New York, NY, December 20, 2018 — Today’s announcement from the U.S. Administration on asylum is as irresponsible as it is dangerous for families in need of urgent safety. The move comes on the heels of previous attacks on asylum being struck down by a U.S. federal judge.
Forcing asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while they wait to have their cases heard in the United States will create needless chaos at the border, and expose asylum-seekers to unnecessary health and security risks, including the possibility of further persecution or violence.
Said Jenn Piatt, Senior Director, Refugee Resettlement and Asylum Policy and Advocacy:
“Today’s attack on asylum is yet another ill-conceived and constitutionally suspect action by the Administration that will undoubtedly endanger the lives of thousands of children and families and spur unprecedented chaos at the nation’s southern border.
“Thousands of asylum-seekers will now be in legal and physical jeopardy, and could even result in the creation of ad hoc refugee camps along the border in Mexico. Moreover, the policy will drastically undermine the due process rights of asylum-seekers by making it extremely difficult to access legal counsel.
“This move is another clear abdication of American tradition and values. The IRC urges the U.S. Administration to abandon this cruel approach and allow asylum seekers to remain safely in the United States while their protection claims are considered, in line with long-standing practice and U.S. law.”
Asylum-seekers have the right to apply for protection by international law and should not be returned to situations where they could face persecution or torture. The U.S. administration has systematically eliminated safe and legal pathways to protection for Central Americans facing persecution, terminating the Central American Minors (CAM) program for children and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 250,000 Central Americans already in the U.S.
Based on the IRC's experience in the region, fear of persecution among those fleeing Central America’s Northern Triangle are very real. Current levels of violence and targeted persecution there are akin to those in the world’s deadliest war zones.
The IRC calls on the Administration to focus on real solutions that address the root causes of the humanitarian crisis in Central America instead of manufacturing chaos at the United States border.