Before State of the Union Address, Human Rights First Calls for Respect for Rule of Law

Human rights advocates present evidence of erosion of respect for human rights laws and protections for refugees and asylum-seekers

Washington, D.C. – In anticipation of President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union address, Human Rights First is calling for the United States to respect the rule of law and in particular the human rights of refugees and asylum-seekers which have been under constant attack since the first days of the Trump administration.

Human Rights First President and CEO, Michael Breen, made the following statement:

“Since the early days of this presidency, human rights and the rule of law have been under attack. As the president speaks on the state of the union tonight, thousands of asylum-seekers and refugees face threats of violence and death because the United States has disregarded the law and abrogated its responsibility as a human rights leader.

“The latest expansion of the xenophobic and discriminatory Muslim ban separates Americans from their families and leaves those seeking safety with fewer options. We call on members of Congress to support the No Ban Act and end this policy which misuses national security as a cover for racism.

“A year into the cruel policy forcing asylum-seekers to wait in dangerous Mexican border towns, we at Human Rights First have documented more than 800 cases of violence, rape, kidnapping and assault of asylum-seekers waiting for their day in court.  And the U.S. government continues to push the fiction that Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are ‘safe third countries;’ an assertion that we, along with others, are taking to court.

“We urgently ask Congress and the American people to remember the values, including respect for the rule of law, that allowed the United States to be an international leader in the past. Only by returning to these values to our policies can we lead again.”

Human Rights First continues to call on Congress to exercise oversight and demand accountability for the human rights abuses resulting from Trump administration policies. The organization urges swift passage of the No Ban Act and the Refugee Protection Act.

To learn more about Human Rights First’s work to track attacks on asylum-seekers please visit:

To learn about Human Rights First’s lawsuit against the administration, U.T. v. Barr, over the so-called “safe third country” agreements visit:


Published on February 4, 2020


Related Posts

Seeking asylum?

If you do not already have legal representation, cannot afford an attorney, and need help with a claim for asylum or other protection-based form of immigration status, we can help.