Human Rights Groups Urge Administration to Restore Legally-Required Humanitarian Protections at U.S. Border
WASHINGTON – In a letter sent today to the heads of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Human Rights First, together with the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, the Center for Victims of Torture, the International Refugee Assistance Project, the Latin America Working Group, the Women’s Refugee Commission, and the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, and 260 organizations, urged the Trump administration to stop using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to implement indefinite, illegal and life-threatening restrictions on humanitarian protections at the southern U.S. border for asylum seekers and unaccompanied children.
On May 19, CDC recklessly extended a much-criticized March 20 CDC order that DHS is using to eviscerate Congressionally mandated and treaty-based protections for children, families, and adults seeking safety at the border. Public health experts at leading public health schools, medical schools, hospitals, and other institutions have concluded that the order “is based on specious justifications and fails to protect public health.” In just six weeks, DHS used the CDC order to remove at least 21,000 people – including over 1,000 unaccompanied children – and expelled them to face the risk of kidnapping, rape, and murder in Mexico.
The letter urges DHS to immediately halt expulsions of unaccompanied children and those seeking humanitarian protection and restore the rule of law at our borders, and calls on the CDC to rescind its order and allow for the entry and processing of people seeking refuge in the United States.