President’s Border Control Plan Ignores Impact on Refugees
Earlier this week President Bush outlined his plan for enhanced border control and immigration reform. Missing from the President’s speech – and from much of the congressional debate on immigration reform – was any concern over proposed enforcement provisions that will put at risk those who flee persecution and seek refuge in the U.S.
“Both the President’s plan and the congressional immigration bills contain sweeping enforcement provisions that will endanger those who have fled political and religious persecution and sought safe haven in this country,” said Eleanor Acer, director of Human Rights First’s refugee protection program. “These proposals could lead to the mistaken deportation of a victim of religious persecution from China, the jailing of a rape survivor from Darfur, or the criminal prosecution of a pro-democracy activist from Burma.”
In his speech, President Bush reiterated his commitment to increasing immigration detention and expanding the use of a summary deportation process. This approach and the various congressional proposals ignore the findings of the bi-partisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which found significant failings in the government’s implementation of the summary process and concluded that asylum seekers were inappropriately jailed in the U.S. in prison-like facilities.
Human Rights First urges the White House and the U.S. Senate to oppose provisions that undermine this country’s commitment to refugees and put those who have fled from political and religious persecution at risk of being deported back to danger. To learn more about the particular provisions of concern, visit our website at: http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/asylum/asylum_12_reform.asp