Statement for the Record of Human Rights First On House Committee on Oversight and Accountability “On The Front Lines of the Border Crisis: A Hearing with Chief Patrol Agents”
Human Rights First is alarmed at the scale and dangers presented by orchestrated rhetoric that paints migrants and people seeking asylum at the U.S. border as a threat or “invasion.” Human Rights First’s experts on extremism and antisemitism have repeatedly warned that this rhetoric leads directly to increased violence. As outlined below, lawmakers must refuse to provide a platform for this rhetoric. Rather, they must call out this racist fear-mongering and counter disinformation with reliable and accurate data regarding the right to asylum, the U.S. immigration system, and current conditions at the border.
We cannot allow bigoted narratives and disinformation to dominate critical conversations about immigration policy and our nation’s asylum laws. Instead of prolonging, codifying, using, or resurrecting unjust, inhumane, and dysfunctional policies aimed at decimating asylum that were initiated under the Trump administration, the Biden administration and Members of Congress should uphold U.S. refugee law, the human right to seek asylum, and U.S. commitments under international refugee law. This includes abandoning efforts to ban or deny asylum to refugees who are otherwise eligible for asylum under U.S. law.
Instead, the United States should lead by example, uphold refugee law at home, and take the other steps outlined at the end of this statement.